Monday, August 17, 2009
My Camp Experience
'BAYELSA' was boldly written on my call-up letter. I have never imagined myself in this part of the country before now but with total resignation to the will of God in collaboration with NYSC, I packed my bags. I arrived at kolokuma opokuma (tongue twister abi?) L.G.A where the orientation camp is located. Registration was the beginning of a revelation for me, I realized that you pay for everything; If you wanted to staple a passport to a form, you pay. Simple, mundane things had a price tag attached. Registration ended with collection of kit and nothing fit (well, wasn't really suprised). I then proceeded to make ammendments and ended up paying an exhorbitant amount for patchwork that was badly done. Camp life was crazy, for me, it was a mix of everything; fun, sadness, happiness, suffering. Everything sorta balanced out and merged into a great experience. From the overcrowded room, to waking up for headcount in the middle of the night, to substandard kit materials. The weather was another story entirely, it rained every single day and we had to rely on body heat to dry our whites. Sometimes, we wore it damp like that and it will dry on our bodies. There were completly irrelevant (in my own opinion) lectures and there were limited/no chairs to sit on and you either sit on the floor or stand, sometimes for up to 3-4 hours. The food nko? They served weevil-infested beans almost everyday, eba like it was running out of fashion and occasional rice with watery soup and miniscule pieces of meat. The ridiculous morning race disguised as jogging. They wanted to kill me ni? Me ke? I started avoiding it o! The military guys took pleasure in harrasing and victimizing us, they would call us names like otondo, akamu, they would shout at us; "ajuwaya! double-up" they would go to the clinic and bring out those who were feigning illness, make them chant "i no well" while marching round the camp. They would also barge into the female hostels, even enter the bathrooms while girls were bathing shouting "fall out, fall out". The people were another case entirely; the good, bad and ugly. You hear some graduates blast grammer and you ask yourself: who let this cat outta school? And then i stylishly ask: abeg, which school did you graduate from sef? Then again, I met really hilarious, crazy (in a good way), cool girls. These people made camp fun. Sometimes we would stay awake till 2-3 a.m gisting and laughing. Then the guys; well, what can i say? Guys will always be guys and it has been drummed into my head by family and friends that guys (most of 'em) in camp are looking out for a fling and as per the sharp girl that I am, I didn't trip for their lines but I had a good laugh at their attempts. There were a few cute ones though. Passing out day was one of the happiest days in my life. Though I had fun, it is one of those experiences you never want to repeat. I can't wait to start my assignment as a teacher, I hope it will be fun.