Hello lovelies, how is your week going? I’m so sorry I’ve been MIA. I’ve been busy dealing with the struggles of adulting. *sighs* but it feels good to be back!

In this post, I’m telling you all about my camp experience and showing you possible ways to style your camp uniform …Lol

Before you read this I’d advise you read my previous post

Click here SO IT’S TIME FOR NYSC?

If you read that already please continue reading.

On entering the camp. I dragged my heavy box all the way from the main gate to the hostel which was basically a large hall with lots of bunk beds. I was given a bed space right next to my buddies from the bus. This further strengthened our bond. I also got a very cool bunk-mate and we all are still good friends up on till now. We did all our registrations together, we would fetch water together, wake each other up in the morning, go to the parade ground together and go collect food together from the camp kitchen (sometimes though…because camp food was kind of wacky). The only time we were separated was when it was time for platoon activities. I was in platoon seven which always claimed to be the best. My platoon commandant (everyone called him Commando) would shout SEVEN PLATOOON!!! And we’ll all respond THE BEST!!! This really annoyed the other platoons.

 

“White fowls” thats what the soldiers called us

 

On a queue in front of the camp kitchen for dinner

 

Camp roomies and besties

SAED

The SAED programme would have been a lot more beneficial if we didn’t spend 80% of the time in a boring lecture hall that barely had enough seats for everyone.

Rehearsing on the parade ground

Three days into camp and I was like a zombie. Tbh I couldn’t cope with the early morning parades, activities and as well as the 5-hours SAED (Skill Acquisition) lectures. I would go to the parade ground sleepy and grumpy, wouldn’t talk to anyone in my platoon and run back into my hostel at the slightest opportunity. But as time went on, I said to myself “this would soon come to an end, you are only going to do this once in your entire life so you might as well enjoy every bit of it” So I became open to being more participative.

How we sat most of the time due to sun and fatigue

I would have loved to be part of the EXCOS in Platoon 7 but I got to camp late, couldn’t finish my registration on time so I missed the elections. I then decided to be an active member of the platoon.

I participated in the Cultural Dance, Golden Voices and Christmas Carol inter-platoon competitions in which we came first, second and third place respectively. We even got N20, 000 after doing a welcome dance for the Director General of NYSC (BRIG GEN. SZ KAZAURE) when he visited Delta State orientation camp.

Rehearsals for our cultural dance presentation

With the platoon president

I also got to work in the camp kitchen, it was all sorts of fun, I got to interact with and serve fellow corps members meals for a whole day. Also, I could have as much food as I wanted. (Not that the food was so great)

With the two cutest guys in my platoon

There are lots of activities to look forward to on camp, cooking competitions, sports, man o’ war activities, parade competition, carnival, and night time social activities like singing contests, beauty pageants (Miss NYSC & Mr Macho), dancing competitions, comedy and bon fire night. There is also lots of music to groove to during this time. Because these activities are not compulsory you’ll be tempted not to attend them. Please make sure you go to these events. Many people argue that the three weeks camping experience is the best thing about NYSC and I’m afraid I kind of agree.

Swearing in ceremony

On this day ehn we stood for hours under the sun.

Carnival Day

Delta state camp officials and soldiers were a bit strict and sometimes unnecessarily harsh but I couldn’t let them steal my joy. They would punish corps members, forcefully drag them out of the hostels (female soldiers especially) they would come to the hostels to pour water and sometimes sand on people who didn’t leave the hostel on time. But I survived it all.

Aha! I almost forgot to talk about MAMI (Camp Market). This place was part of the reasons camp was fun. My friends and I would go to there to drop our dirty laundry because the struggle for water was real (water fetched was mostly used for bathing) and it wasn’t so expensive. We would also go there to buy fried goodies like fish, meat, plantain, yam and bean cake (akara) on days we didn’t want to eat the food from the kitchen. We also had one very nice spot where we ate really tasty noodles. I remember one night my platoon members went to celebrate a victory, it was so much fun, we danced, laughed and ordered chilled drinks for everyone. We didn’t have sockets in our hostels so we would go to mami to charge our phones for N50. Because of this my phone battery was always low and this cost me the relationship i was in at the time. Funny right?

I also had a camp crush. I don’t know if it was because I was stuck in a place for three weeks or if I really liked him. His name was Femi. He was the tallest guy in the whole camp, he could sing and was arguably the cutest guy in our platoon. I know you are laughing at me right now but camp does that kind of stuff to you. hehehe

I tried my best to have fun on camp but sadly all good things must come to an end. I was sad and almost tearing up, I was going to miss all my friends even though I didn’t have many (I’m terrible at goodbyes). I was relocating to Ogun state for health reasons but I really wouldn’t have minded staying in Delta State.

I stayed with my mum’s family (Yeah my mum is from Delta) for the night before leaving for Lagos the next day. I travelled with a dead phone but I’m thankful I returned home safely.

I waited some days before travelling down to Ogun state to resume as an Ogun “KOPA”

Thanks for reading.

What was your camping experience? If you haven’t camped are you looking forward to it?

Comment your thoughts below

 

Hey there, if you are reading this you probably are awaiting NYSC, just received your posting letter, currently serving or you just love to read. Whatever the reason may be, I’m glad to have you here.

The National Youth Service Corps a.k.a NYSC is that compulsory and somewhat discomforting one year service that all Nigerian graduates must undergo. Now, there are lots of reasons the government and employers think this is very important but really that isn’t why we are here. The downside is that you must go through with it if you want to be employed by any private or government owned establishment in Nigeria.

Service year for me came with lot of emotions, at different points I was overwhelmed with sadness, fear, anxiety, optimism and eventually the feeling of adventure.

Getting mobilised and posted

After graduation I had to wait an extra year at home before getting mobilised, thanks to my Department that didn’t prepare our results on time. It was actually quite frustrating but I couldn’t do anything about it. To pass time, I learnt a bit of sewing and focused on my writing. So Batch A or Batch B, Stream one or stream two, you’ll eventually get posted. Don’t sweat it!

Sometime in November 2016, NYSC was ready to mobilize us, and after a stressful registration process I got my posting letter. Now getting posted to a state of your choice is really tricky, you are to choose four states in different geo-political zones and then you get posted to anyone of them. Based on the options I got I chose Ogun, Delta, Kaduna and Abuja. Guess where I got?

If you chose Delta, you guessed right! My mom is from Delta State and I had never been there so I was a little bit happy but the inner me wanted Ogun state. The idea was not to be home (Lagos) but not to be too far away from home. Cheesy right?

Preparation and Travel

Now there is the tendency to run ‘helter-skelter’ and panic here but not too worry I’m here to help. Remember camp is just three weeks (which will probably be the longest three weeks of your life…LoL) so carefully do your shopping, make sure to use a list and do it weeks before. Why? Don’t forget, thousands of graduates all over the country have been mobilised just like you and you’ll all need basically the same things, the markets will be aware, certain things will become scarce and prices will go up. The last thing you need is wasting money on shopping, keep it for camp, you’ll need it. Trust me!

As for me, I was still shopping a day to camp. I ended up buying expensive items and carrying too much to camp because people scared me. I didn’t want to risk not taking everything I would need. Still, I ended up bringing back sixty percent of what I took along. Save yourself the stress, save money and travel lighter.

And yes! My ladies, make sure to take enough toiletries (face-soap, wipes, deodorant, tissue, tampons, body cream, hair cream and all), you know our bodies are sensitive and the market in camp might not have the particular brand you use. Also our hair! You are going to camp but you still have to slay because you will be meeting lots of people. I went to camp with Ghana weaving and by the second week my face cap was my best friend. I advise you go to camp with braids, twists or locks. Why? They’ll last longer, also you don’t want to damage that beautiful piece of curly or bone straight hair you just got, you won’t have the luxury of conditioning, brushing, bendy rollers or straighteners and you will be subjected to some harsh conditions like dust and rain on the parade ground. Although, trust our slay queens, some of them were able to pull it off, waking up by 3am and all. If you have allergies please take your medication along because the camp clinic is very unreliable.

As for your documents, please go with an I.D Card (this is not negotiable), if you don’t have your school ID, probably because the school collected it or it got lost and you can’t replace it, go with as many IDs as you can. And preferably go with your statement of result, it’s safer than travelling with your original certificate. The replacement procedure for certificates is not so nice.

If you intend to redeploy (that is leave that state to another one), and you want to do so on marital or health grounds, go with your marriage certificate, or doctor’s report. This will make it easier.

Piece of advice: travel with your documents in a backpack or handbag and not your main luggage and make enough copies to avoid extra spending on camp.

Also on camp you are going to have a series of social activities like beauty pageants, carnival, sports, cultural activities and all. If you intend to participate you might need to take along some special clothing items and accessories like denim trousers, face caps, sunglasses, beads etc. Just for fun.

Choosing your transport service

*Sigh* …My dear friends at this point be extra careful. If you are travelling by air please allow me to express how happy I am for you, kindly scroll down the page. But if you are travelling by road, this is for you. Now you can decide to travel alone or plan to travel with other corpers. The latter is a better option because the bus will stop right in front of your camp and you get to make friends. However, choose a reputable travel company that has a contact office, open customer care lines and all. A friend of mine got scammed by a non-existent transport company that just popped up during that period. Do not endanger yourselves because of cheap fares. My experience was not so nice, I travelled with Cross Country, and it was a bus filled with fellow corps members. I paid N6,000 for a trip that normally costs around N3,200 because they were going to drop us off at camp. The plan was to get to camp a day before so that I could settle in but apparently Cross Country had a different plan for me. After delaying us at the park, giving us a bus with no AC to travel a 6-hours journey and returning N2,000 to each passenger for inconvenience (after we challenged them), we eventually started the journey. Not quite long after the bus started malfunctioning and eventually packed up at Shagamu. By 5pm we were still at Shagamu, continuing the journey was pointless so I returned to Lagos with all my stuff, angry and exhausted. I went back to the park the next day and they provided another bus with AC for us, gave us tee-shirts, food etc. just to pacify us. The journey was smooth this time around, so it was probably a one-time thing. We had fun, made jokes on the bus, sang, laughed, slept, woke up and slept again till we all got to our respective camps. The beautiful thing about this experience was that I got to meet and bond with two wonderful girls. Marsha and Mojisola who later became my camp sisters. Months after camp our friendSHIP is still sailing!

Finally you are at Camp

The moment you get to the gate of the camp, your whole life comes flashing right in front of you. This is when you realise “things just got real” and you’ll ask yourself, how did I get here? this is where I will be for the next 3 weeks? How will I survive? You will be welcomed by people selling buckets, potties, soap dish, plates, cups, sponge, key-holders etc. It will make you feel worse realising why you will actually need all that. But then in another minute, you suck it up and stroll right in with your box prepared to see what the next three weeks holds for you. (That might have sounded a little dramatic, but honestly that was how I felt).

Some people say the soldiers make you carry your box on your head, well that didn’t happen to me. Your boxes will be searched so don’t go with any electrical appliance like pressing iron and kettles, bottles, knifes, fork, extension boxes etc. they will be seized.

On getting to Delta State Orientation Camp, the registration process was something else, the queues were long. People with ‘connections’ were by-passing queues, soldiers were looking for ‘fine’ girls and helping them cut the line. We didn’t have any connections so my friends and I had to go through the normal process. I got to camp on Sunday but I didn’t wear white until Sunday. Asides the stressful registration I was also avoiding going to the parade ground.

To be continued in next post

My 3 Weeks at NYSC Orientation Camp, Issele-Uku Delta State (BATCH B (STREAM ONE) 2016)

Thanks for reading!

Are you a prospective corps member? What are you looking forward to? If you are an active corps member what was your experience?

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.