It’s been real, sigh — NYSC camp is officially over, and I can’t explain how happy I am about that. “Double up, you wet bags of potatoes,” yelled from the soldiers and other authorities with ranks in the camp, as we jogged through thorny fields, hanging on to our last breaths. For the most part, it was a traumatic experience for those of us who were not familiar with that…gritty lifestyle (and there were a lot of us) outside Hollywood depictions. However, it grew to be fun towards the end, because it was new and…different. Every moment held a new lesson — from the early-morning search for unoccupied bathrooms, to the drills, to the intellectual conversations with people from all walks of life.
N Y S C means ‘National Youth Service Corps, and all of the grim events described above are a part of the NYSC orientation. NYSC was designed to help Nigerian university graduates develop common ties across the country, and promote national unity. It aims to raise the moral tone of the Nigerian youth by exposing them to higher ideals of social and cultural improvement.
Coming to Kaduna from Delta State, I would have never imagined experiencing a most of the things I experienced. It started as a smooth journey with exciting thoughts of camp and the people I would meet, new friendships and what not; but like every slasher movie that begins with a road trip, it wasn’t all that rosy.
Things started to get “hot” before I even got to camp! It started with the heat in the bus due to the spoilt air-conditioner, and escalated with the riot I met on the road along Ewu junction. An angry mob wanted revenge against Fulani herdsmen for attacking their villages; I wondered to myself why they had chosen to attack travelers on the road, instead of looking for an alternative to their voices being heard. And then there was the part where I sustained an injury in camp for more than a week, which made me limp for awhile (you should have seen me). It wasn’t an easy experience but I got through all of it; I guess something in me kept telling me I would get to the best part in the end of it all. Like they say, everything happens for a reason.