My Camp Experience
I came to Nigerian for holiday
Go and stay for three months there, they said
But soon plans began to change
Go for NYSC was the next thing I heard.
I mumbled and grumbled, did all to complain
But all my mumblings were in vain
11 March 2014, a day never to be forgotten
I stepped into Kubwa camp not knowing what to expect
But right from the gate I got it direct
“Madam this no be airport, carry your load
No dragging of luggage here”, so I was told.
Getting to my room, I wrinkled my face
Sharing with 39 others would need God’s grace
My mattress was a sight for sore eyes
I closely inspected it looking for lice
The morning drills were a pain in the leg
Going for breakfast I craved fried eggs
There was no light, no water, no fan, abi AC
The food we got was anything but tasty
So we carried ourselves to Mami market
And fashionably dished out money from our pockets
But soon I noticed we began to adjust
Going to the dining became a must
Speech changed from “I’m going to Mami hey”
To “Bros do fast make we go chop for dining ey”
I no longer flinched when a soldier said “Your papa”
Abeg leave that one, that be small matter
I became an aje pako, no more aje butter
Graduated from an Otondo to a correct corper.
I learnt from the dances of our diverse cultures
Gained valuable lessons from the many lectures
I finally learnt how to make pancakes
Now I can bring boo breakfast in bed and say, “here honey, take”.
I am well prepared for the world out there
Shaped and trained by camp’s tough love and care
So come February 2015, when I pass out
I have all the confidence I need to march out.
Around this time last year, I was in Nigeria on holiday, when the folks changed my well calculated plans of visiting Nigeria for just two months and heading back to Namibia, where I have lived for almost all my life. I wasn’t impressed, trust me. A lot of my friends frequently asked me what I was doing in Nigeria, if I had come home to find a husband, or if I had permanently moved back for good.
To help me sorta deal with the trauma (lol) of having to do NYSC I wrote a poem that served as comic relief for me, but also put things into perspective for.
For those who don’t know what NYSC is, it is the National Youth Service Corp, a compulsory program every graduate in Nigeria has to go through before they can get employed. It starts with a three week orientation camp in some bush (lol), run by paramilitary officials. So we had morning drills, exercises, jogging, marching and obstacle courses. Most of this was done with soldiers barking out commands.
I wrote a poem while at camp, describing a little of my experience. Hope you enjoyed reading it.