So I found this story on Greenbiro.com and decided to share with you guys, I’m sure you would enjoy it as I did.
It was written by Tope Hassan.
As soon as I got down from my sister’s car and bade her bye, a
chill air welled up in my body. My palms went sweaty and beads of sweat
creased my forehead when I sighted the grim faces of the soldiers and
their guns swaying in all directions from the mountains to my face. My
sister had laughed her bowels full the day before when she saw me
packing a big box, lunch bag, buckets and mosquito nets. She had served
some years back and had her share of camp life but I was determined to
turn mine into an “American fat camp” with all the preparations I had
patient, called my doctor to get me all the antiseptic soaps, sprays
and liquids for any possible bacterial and fungal infections. I had
carved my plans for camp like a total psycho scientist.
But as I walked down the road towards the gate, I feared I may never
survive the walk as everything I thought I knew disappeared. I discarded
the big bucket, lunch bag and shoved my handbag & mosquito net into
my box as I was asked to carry my box on my head. I lifted the box and
to my dismay after five steps, collapsed under the weight flat on my
The soldiers poked me with their batons and forced me up. I pleaded
with them that I was asthmatic, showed them my report, before a kind
soldier helped me with my box. After hours of clearance at the gate and
confiscation of almost half of my belongings, I was led into a shabby,
dirty and smelly bunk hall by an officer along with 19 other ladies. At
this point, I knew I was alone in “This world”.
The 5am parades started, the yells, the seizing of items, the hot
sun, Captain Ijapa’s punishment to sit on the floor and most
importantly, the search for good food. I fed on cereals and junk that it
felt like they would grow on my face and soon I grew tiresome and sick.
My bunkmate, Titi was my angel from heaven. She got worried and on the
third day, bought “Edikaikong Soup and Eba” from Mami market and made me
eat it. The food was great! Really great! That changed my opinion about
the Mami market and soon, we began buying our lunch from there in our
food flasks because I could not stand the flies and dirty environment.
We ate “Eforiro”, “Egusi” and “Ewedu” always with Eba. It tasted so
I was a compliant corps member but unfortunately, when I least
expected it, I would get punished for wearing a sun glass, flying my
T-shirt, or wearing a casual jacket. Due to the cold, I fainted about
four times in camp and soon made friends among the doctors as I was
often tucked in the ambulance in the mornings. The soldiers knew me and
nicknamed me “Madam Foreigner” but it sounded like “Madanforena”.
The fire alarm drill at night was most annoying as it felt so real. I
escaped with only my pajamas and phone with no slippers or jacket to
cover. It was a splitting experience as I was so cold until my Platoon
president; Adeleke sacrificed his blanket for me to cover up.
The carnival day came and the whole camp was in colors. I had
participated in my Platoon and we did a cheer squad dance to one of
Naija’s popular jams. Everyone looked so bright and colorful. Fun was
simply an understatement.
As at the third week, I dreaded going back home. It felt like I had
made a new home and it was simply too early to part ways although part
of me was longing for a big soft cozy bed. I met amazing people and made
friends that I would come to cherish for a lifetime. There in camp, I
met John Okoro, Tayo Fagade, Wukeh Egem-Odey, Obinna Chukwudum, Ogech Nwobia
and Ruth Apeh Ejuojuo who have now become the most amazing family I
shared most of my precious and life changing moments of the past year
with. We decided to form a Group of Patriotic Corpers
dedicated to move Youth development, entrepreneurship and networking
among Nigerian youths through the project #MentorMe which we worked
during our service year as our personal community development project.
We created a platform for youths especially corps members to come
together to discuss business, listening to mentors who have succeeded in
their area of expertise talk on the ups and downs of leadership,
transparency, integrity and perseverance in Nigeria.
I have had a lot of amazing experiences as a serving corps member. A
book won’t suffice me to tell it all. What tops my list of lessons
learned is that NYSC uploaded its benefits into my soul and got me to
learn to think! To be myself! It has taught me to endure, to take my
challenges and create an opportunity for myself to find good in it.
What is your attitude to NYSC? What is your attitude to life? My father always said “Life will only give you the result that suits the preparation that you have made for yourself”.
I may not be the most portrayed desired and upstanding corps member
because I am called “The Ajebota Corper” but I went to camp and
discarded my weak and fantasy mentality to search for the ultimate camp
experience. After all, Nigeria is my home. NYSC is mandatory and whether
I like it or not, I am Nigerian and my chances of succeeding here is
higher than out there so I may as well start to master it before I am
given the opportunity to lead it. What about you?