Wednesday, November 21, 2012

NYSC Orientation Camp - Updates and Random Thoughts

I have been away from here for so long, and there is so much to talk about... I will build it up slowly, a little here and a little there... I will use sections to arrange my thoughts... I will paint a mosaic, and hopefully convey meaning... It might be quite long, but I wrote this for you - as much as it is for me - please read on.

I have spent the past 15 days (give or take one or two days) in the NYSC camp, and no two days have been entirely the same. I have met foreign-trained Corps members who share an undying love for the Fatherland and domestic-trained Corps members who couldn't be bothered to build Nigeria; I have met Corps members who would engage Soyinka in conversation and not miss a beat and I have met Corps members who cannot speak a sentence in complete English.

I fear for Nigerian education, but then I get ahead of myself.

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My arguments about the relevance of the NYSC scheme have varied in the past. I have gone from supporting the scheme and propounding its merits to condemning it and arguing that it be scraped. On many of these occasions, critics of my thoughts and writing have argued that I should go through the scheme before setting forth such arguments... Enter this section:

While it may be too early to form definitive opinions, and conscious as I am that a great deal of money is spent on the NYSC under its present form - sitting on the parade ground right now with my new Moslem acquaintance from Gombe and an avowed Sango worshiper from Oyo - I would shoot anyone who suggests that the NYSC be scrapped.

Did I feel that way when I spent 13 hours on a queue trying to complete my registration? No. Did I feel that way when I received my Kit and experienced firsthand its poor quality? No. Do I feel that way in the mornings when I brave the filth of the bathrooms to scrub my body? No. Do I feel that way when I skip meals and make up my energy requirements from Energy drinks in order to avoid using the toilets? No.

Will I still feel this way about the NYSC in another 11 months? I don't know.

What I know is that the Camp Officials here have been nice and friendly. In many ways, they have proved themselves different from your average Nigerian Civil Servant. The State Coordinator of the NYSC has proved to be a natural leader, an imposing figure, a larger-than-life madam... She inspires even me.

It is difficult to impress me.

I have been impressed.

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"Eh eh eh eh, yahwa go gas (2ce), if allawee no dey, yahwa go gas; if allawee no dey, yahwa go gas"...

I enjoy the morning drills. While I have temporarily ceased to wake at 2am, my ears have become finely attuned to the sound of the bugle. The sleep clears from my eyes and my heart thumps as I make my way to the grounds. Unlike my friends in other camps, our morning drills are done in step to music blasting from loudspeakers. I have discovered new music such as "Ihe Neme" by Tu Face, "Your Waist" by Iyanya, etc etc... I have found a new and fun way to exercise.

I participate in ALL the drills, savoring the almost-taste of being in the military. I love the military. I love my RSM. I love the 21 year old female soldier attached to my platoon. In the past few days, I have asked myself severally what would change about my life if I chose a career in the army. I like order and regimentation, but then at this stage - the price to pay would be too great. I'll pass on that choice...

I enjoy the Man-O-War gyrations. Blood races through my body when I hear the sounds of their songs, and my limbs move of their own accord...

"Hold something, hold something... Grab something, grab something".

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Temilolu Kumapayi once told me point-blank that she reckons relationships somewhat more serious after the concerned parties have survived NYSC postings to separate states.

I have always wondered what exactly about the 3 weeks of camp turns peoples' heads and triggers break-ups and make-ups. I have always wondered how guys can fall head-over-heels in love with a girl they have spent only 21 days with. Now I no longer wonder; I know.

I am tempted to expound on my findings, but I will not. I have decided it is best expressed in a fictional account, and I will get to work on that when I leave camp. I am excited about that story already. Be sure to read it when I post it. :)

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Nigerian graduates are an interesting sort. One of my primary objectives when coming into camp was to meet new people, and I have made lots of friends. Enter Lola who studied Human Resource Management at Manchester, Omolayo from Redeemers, Vicar from Imo State University, Barrister Bukola from OOU, Fisayo and Ronke from Babcock, Zulfah from some Moslem University in Ilorin, Ibrahim and Sarah from Gombe State University, Lekan Adebesin from UNAAB, Ore from Imperial College... The list could go on for pages.

These are all people that I would never have met in my day-day life... People that ordinarily do not run in the same social circles as I do... All of us brought together under the same roof, wearing the same clothes, and eating the same food - thanks to the NYSC.

It is just 15 days gone, but there is a lot more diversity in my life, thinking, and appreciation of Nigeria's varied cultures than there was before I stepped into this camp. If nothing else, the NYSC does very well at this!

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Did I mention that I can now roll perfect spring-rolls and make Samosa? Oooo yes! I was told the lectures were boring, which has been largely true - but I totally enjoy the Skill Acquisition Program powered by SAED. I don't know if it is a Lagos thing (Corps members in other camps can jump in here), but mehn - it works!

I look forward to feeding my daughters fat on small chops when their mother goes for a night with the "girls"... *doing asko*

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Is this all? No. Will I continue in a separate post? Yes. Is this representative of my writing? I leave you to judge. Was it worth your time? Well, yes.

******

Thank you for stopping by. You make it a joy to type out such long articles on my tiny phone keyboard. I love you, yes you.

Koye.

17 comments:

  1. This is a great write up,reminds me of my days on camp. Made friends that continue to be friends right up to this day...and I sttill believe NYSC should not be scrapped. If not for anything, the networking remains and still is long lasting. I assure you, 11 months from now you'll sing a different tune. NYSC year remains an intergral journey in my life, feels like an internship. Make the best use of 'em remaining 6 days as it would be the last you would see some folks. Enjoy *I miss camp*

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    1. Thank you, Anon. Thank you. I am glad you like it.

      Separately, yes - I plan to make the best of the remaining 6 days. About it being the last time I would see some folks, really - that doesn't bug me in the least... My last day in Primary School, I was told the same. When I left Loyola for Wesley, I was told the same. When I left Wesley, I was told the same. When I left Ife, I told others the same...

      That is life.

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    2. Thank you, Anon. Thank you. I am glad you like it.

      Separately, yes - I plan to make the best of the remaining 6 days. About it being the last time I would see some folks, really - that doesn't bug me in the least... My last day in Primary School, I was told the same. When I left Loyola for Wesley, I was told the same. When I left Wesley, I was told the same. When I left Ife, I told others the same...

      That is life.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I want to do NYSC again o... lol...

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    1. I bet anything you will not feel this way after re-living two days in the Orientation camp.

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  3. Please oh, Koye, expound on your findings!

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    1. Pearl Eze, I would - but then I risk starting a "World War". A fictional account is just sooo easier... :)

      Thanks for stopping by and for tweeting the link.

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  4. To be candid, am fed up with this Nysc stuffs

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  5. LOL! You were right about me reading this. Nice piece :)

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  6. Hmmmmmm...koye, nice piece..am impressed..

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  7. Of recent, I'm always of the opinion that the NYSC scheme has outlived its usefulness and should be scrapped (largely due to the various killings of corps members witnessed of late in the northern states), but when I remember my lovely husband and I met as we "served" our fatherland, faraway in one of the niger-delta states.....I usually repent of that opinion...LOl! Good things still do come out of the scheme, I suppose **winks**

    You have very well articulated how it is with NYSC camps, first time of reading your blog and I'm commenting straightaway...good job you've done!!!

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  8. If nothing more, NYSC does a great job of creating a melting pot. Bringing different cultures,values, beliefs and religions together in one. The civil servants and soldiers in my camp were no different from every other rude civil worker in Nigeria. I have a post on their shortcomings. I enjoyed some parts of the camp and not so much the others. I would not do it again mainly because of the filthy living conditons. I got sick being in that environment and I was told my camp was one of the best. I can't imagine what the Lagos one was like(to think I was desperate to serve in Lagos but I guess everything worked together for good). I still believe it should be scraped. I just can't see the value it adds to one's future. Unless your lucky enuff to meet your future partner there.
    You do a good job articulating your thoughts in writing.

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  9. Koye, brilliant piece here. Ur thoughts inspire me. Kudos

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  10. Nice one Koye

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