If someone had told me 4 years ago that I’d be willing to go to NYSC Orientation Camp and actually serve my country I’d tell them they were insane. I had a very elaborate plan to run off and get my masters or at least get myself a job as writer or something–anything but actually going to camp.
Everyone I know that had gone for NYSC Orientation Camp gave mixed reviews. While they usually raved about how much fun the experience was they never failed to highlight the terrible, frustrating and disgusting parts of the whole thing.
Alas, it became my turn to decide if I wanted to serve my country or not. The Clarion called. And guess what? I actually obeyed. What followed were 21 days of stress, headaches and fun (occasionally).
Here’s a run through of the highlights of my time at NYSC Camp Ekiti
Things I Can Never Forget
The Beagle Sound
The sound everyone loves to hate. That sound that makes you so upset and you’re like “what do these people want again”. The one early in the morning is the most annoying one because you know after it sounds you’ll be forced to stand for the next two hours. Even on Sundays when they don’t actually blow it you’re up at 4:50 by default.
Nothing is more painful than when you’re minding your business jeje and a random soldier decides to give you punishment. I think the worst one that happened was when they came to wake us up in the middle of the night to do drill. That was when I knew that these people are truly evil.
To be honest though, even though they never wasted an opportunity to make us do drills many of the soldiers were actually friendly in person. There’s something so weird but also comforting about seeing a ‘wicked’ soldier chuckle. I wish I had a picture to show you what I mean.
By Force by Fire Social Activities
It’s only in NYSC camp that soldiers will literally be chasing you to go to party. Mind you, these activities go on for 3 hours and there are no chairs. But I guess it builds character so here we are
I don’t know which is worse, SAED Lecture, General Lecture or early morning lecture but they were are all so boring. The only thing these lectures were good for was sleeping.
If you were part of the people that marched for your platoon and you’re reading this, I hail you oh! I’m so grateful for that soldier lady that picked me out of the marching group. I thought she was being wicked but, after seeing what others that marched went through I was thanking my stars.
These people were standing under the bare sun for hours all in the name of marching that they are not collecting money for.
Why People Say Camp Was ‘Fun’
Practically everything in camp was shitty. When people say camp was ‘fun’ what they’re describing is a general sense of community in how shitty their living situation is—basically, it’s not as shitty because you’re experiencing the shittiness with other people.
And if you ask me, that was the best part of camp. Even just watching the whatsapp status of my friends from other camps and knowing I wasn’t alone made the whole camp situation suck less.
One thing I have to say about this whole thing is that NYSC could be better and safer than it is. The time we wasted with SAED and General Lectures could have been used to take us on a tour around major places in the state, and actually let us interact with the place that we’ve been posted to. There are enough funds to make this happen.
Alot has to also be done in respect to the living arrangements and the toilet situation. Using pit latrine in 2019 is actually embarrassing.
Also if all states were up to standard and livable no one would be paying one uncle in Abuja to help them relocate. A lot of what I saw while I was in camp brought me to the conclusion that Nigeria has and needs to do better. Periodt.
Thank you for coming to my TED talk.
If you liked this post you should also read