A Partial Ajebutter’s Life in Compulsory NYSC (Series 1)
O God of Creation,
Direct our Noble Cause
(From: Nigerian National Anthem, 2nd Stanza)
It’s been a while since I’ve been here and I apologize sincerely for being away for so long with no prior notice. I appreciate all the calls and messages sent to me to check up on how I was doing. I’m back here with this post to spill all the details of why I have been away. Please grab a drink because this might be a long read, though its going to be a new series on the blog so you don’t wanna miss any of the updates.
If you’ve been following me here or on my instagram, you’d know I graduated from uni in June last year so it’s one of the expected routes in Nigeria that the next on my list will be NYSC. To be very honest, I wasn’t really feeling this NYSC thing cuz I didn’t see the joy in being posted to a place out of your comfort zone, all in the name of serving your father land, but God had other plans.
So, on that fateful day when the call up letter cat walked into our NYSC online portals, I casually logged in to see which state I had been thrown in and behold, I had been posted to my mum’s state of origin- Ekiti state! Such lovely placement! My grandma lives there, I have aunties and uncles there, it was a perfect planning from God.
I had less than a week to prepare so I packed all I needed and set out with my mum and brother to a new chapter in my life. It might interest you to know that my family is an extremely supportive one so it’s no wonder that my grandma, two aunties and an uncle, including my mum and brother followed me to the orientation camp on the D-day ?. Don’t blame me, the love was intense.
Some people in camp felt I am an Ajebutter while some felt I’m a mixture of both. I actually think I’m the latter. I’ve experienced life in both situations so I’d say I’m a partial Ajebutter.
NYSC ORIENTATION CAMP, ISE-EMURE, EKITI STATE.
At the arrival at the orientation camp, my first stop was to get a bed from a particular room before heading to the hostels where youth corpers would be spending the remaining three weeks. May I input that I had no expectations what so ever, hence, I had no dissapointments. Everything that happened seemed normal and I took it all in good faith, determined to be happy no matter what.
Long story short, I got to the hall and I met this man that called himself the landlord of the hostel. In my mind, I’m like for NYSC again? ?
The man gave us rules, like first, we need to go buy a potty for toilet matters, we were not to have our bath outside and we should do that in the bathrooms provided instead. He also added that anyone who is caught stealing will be dealt with. After much talk, he allowed us to set up our beds, mosquito nets and all that.
I left for registration afterwards. That registration thing ehnnn, is not an easy something. It took me two days to complete it. It was during this registration that I came across my secondary school best friend- Itunu Famuyide and a friend of hers, Jaiye and I formed my first set of camp squad that minute. We suffered registration palava together – Itunu and I got the same platoon (1 Platoon) while Jaiye got 2 platoon.
Registration dusted, we were full time corpers now.
FIRST FEW DAYS IN CAMP
You can imagine my pain when I had started hearing my roommates’ voices as early as 3am, all in the name of “make I quickly go bath”. I immediately decided that I’d scrub the day’s sweat off at night before going to bed and just brush our teeth the next morning. I needed my sleep Biko and I wasn’t about to start bathing outside. So my squad and I started doing that and it worked for us.
The cold in that place is SOMETHING WICKED. The sound of a horn hurried us out each morning at 5am to assemble at the field for morning devotions. Those morning devotions were the coldest moments of my life. It wasn’t long before I started wearing my khaki jacket each morning – it’s not me that will become ceramic cup before we leave camp.
During these morning devotions, representatives from each platoon were chosen to say three types of prayers – the Christian, Muslim and National (this is the second stanza of the national anthem) prayers. The National and NYSC Anthems were also sung at attention. A particular soldier, the RSM of the camp (I still don’t know what RSM means) took charge of this session as he called us to stand at ease and attention). The part of this morning devotions I hated so much were the certain officials in the camp being called to talk or announce one thing or the other. It always took extremely long, standing in the cold, listening to whatever they had to say. You can trust your gurl who usually had a newspaper wrapped in any book she was reading. Once they get up that stage, I roll out my newspaper for Itunu and I to sit on the floor. Man cannot freeze to death.
The fun parts were the praise and worship sessions and the times people sang along to the horn that woke Nigeria up. Did I tell you that each day in camp, the Nigerian Flag is raised up at 6am and brought down at 6pm which signified that she sleep at 6pm and wakes at 6am? (she too dey sleep sha). Another fun part was whenever we were told to squat as a punishment during meditation hours and I turned each one to my normal squat exercise routines- talk about flipping the sad things to your good lol. I came back as fit as Maje ?
ORIENTATION BROADCASTING SERVICE OBS
When I was coming to camp, more than 2 people advised me to join the OBS because the members of the OBS are usually not stressed by soldiers and it was also a good avenue to express my area of expertise- Broadcasting. I did join OBS but two days after, I lost my voice to cough and catarrh and hardly went on air throughout my stay in camp. Some people thought I was shy or scared of the microphone- they had no idea microphones were more than a husband to me. I had caressed and romanced them in the past. So instead of forcing my poor voice to go on air, I resorted to being a receptionist most of the time, attending to people’s needs and smiling till they dropped the sad face they came with. Trust me, I saw the saddest faces as the days passed- people in search of their wallets, ID cards, caps, you name it. The way their faces lit up when I welcomed them with a smile was more joy to me than money.
I had to write two articles to get into OBS while Itunu wasn’t allowed to join because she studied International Law but they wanted someone who studied Mass Communication or English, but you can trust she was a friend of the house.
Also, I met the most lovely set of people with whom we worked together at OBS. I will insert a picture of everyone in the crew in the next episode of this series. They were such a family; fought like there was no tomorrow but still bonded after the fights. I was the laugh out loud one- na so so laugh I just dey laugh.
WHO STOLE MY PANTS?
So, we got back to the room one night only for one of the roommates to start shouting, “I’m looking for my pants o, both worn and new… And my potty too. Who stole my pants? If it’s you, just drop it where I will see it o”.
I was on my bed like ??… I couldn’t help but laugh. I wasn’t surprised though cuz I had been told earlier by friends in stream 1 that people steal pants in NYSC camp. The advice was buy disposable panties or “go commando”. Our room number was announced the next day on the meditation ground as the room where someone’s pants were stolen. You can imagine the laughter ?
FINDING GOD AMIDST THE ODD
To be honest, this morning, I still told God thank you for helping not lose my values in camp. It was hard keeping up with having intimacy with God in camp. Here’s why: Every morning, you’re expected to be awake at least by 4am. Most of the time, you won’t be going back in till about 1pm. You’re either in a Parade, volleyball game, football game or tug of war (for the fat people, i don’t know why only them participated in it). If you’re not doing any of that, you’re at the lecture hall or ground receiving the most boring lectures of your life or worse still, washing the most disgustingly smelling toilets. You might find yourself in the kitchen throughout the day cooking for the camp or any of that stressful stuff. Where then, is the time for God?
For me, I spent my time learning from Him through books. I invested in so much books in camp that some people started to call me professor. I attended the Corpers Christian Fellowship when I could, though I felt most of their teachings weren’t deep or refreshing enough but it was better than nothing. I learned to discuss with the Holy Spirit, especially those nights when everyone was cuddled up and because I am definitely not a freak and won’t go wrap my hands round a random person, I found myself battling it out with the Holy spirit- especially on the MR Macho and Miss NYSC night. I was practically getting angry and frustrated. We were out till 12 am watching this pageant and I was freezing, I could feel my heart like Jack felt in Titanic. The Holy Spirit and I had a conversation like;
me: but why do I have to suffer and have no one to hold cuz I’m trying not to be with just anyone
HS: because God is saving all those feelings, emotions and care for someone that deserves you
me: but I’m freezing! I’m angry. Na only me waka come?
HS: you’re talking like this because you’re in the heat of the moment, a time will come when you’ll thank God for this.
It wasn’t easy but it was worth it! I grew a lot in those three weeks- particularly as a result of a Whatsapp Bible Study Group I am a part of. It took care of things I needed to know to grow in Him. I’ll do a post on all the books I got while in camp.
God also brought me across with some like-minded Christians like Victory, Tolu, Favourite, Queeneth and Green. I’m forever grateful for kingdom friendships.
My aunties came every sunday to bring me food and I still haven’t gotten my full voice back but I know it’ll be back with time. I do not want this post to be super long so I’ll stop here. In subsequent posts, I’ll be spilling more about my experience in camp; the boys, the arguments, the ‘go down lows’ and so on. Pending that time, I’ll let you in on a small information- I’M GOING TO BE A TEACHER FOR THE NEXT ONE YEAR LOL!
Please don’t forget to leave a comment down ?… Comments mean a lot to me ? ?
Till my next post,
Always reflect God’s Perfection xx.