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Diary of a Yankee babe doing NYSC (Part 3)

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Pre Note –
It took me a while to get online and see the second diary post and reactions to it. That’s why I didn’t respond to people’s comments. Please remember that this is my diary and so it won’t adhere to what everyone believes to be right or wrong! It is my belief system and so doesn’t have to please everyone. That being said, you also don’t have to agree with everything I have to say but please let’s all stay polite to each other and display the proper home training I know we all have. Thank you! And I finally chose not to respond to any of the insults in part 2 because in doing so, it might have looked like I was defending myself, which would probably just make the person surer of what they think they know. Since you don’t actually know me, feel free to jump to any asinine conclusions you want toJ. Now to our regularly scheduled blog…

Wow! I am writing now and I just got back from camp yesterday! I don’t even know where to begin! I’ll try to be as comprehensive as possible while not making it too long! So here goes

Week 1
I arrived to camp Monday, Oct 25th and immediately was given a bed which was good because I had 2 bags which I didn’t want to be dragging with me. I also met my bunkmate B immediately and since we were both confused and new, we made friends easily with each other. We dropped our stuff then went to the multipurpose hall where we would register. As we arrived there, we saw sets of seats where we would sit as a line to go forward and register. B was KD and I was FCT and so we had to sit in different places. The line was not too bad and we were sitting down so it wasn’t too bad. The registration process was actually relatively painless and you just got your folder and filled the forms, got your number (FCT students got a temporary number b/c registration had to be finished in FCT before we could get out actual numbers). After registration was over, we had our forms, our meal card and our platoon number in hand (there were 10 platoons overall and I was in platoon 2) and then just get your kits, which comprised of 2 shirts, 2 shorts, 2 socks, 1 tennis shoes – all these are white colored, 1 jungle boots (the horrid orange ones), and your khaki trouser and jacket. Then you went to your hostel, changed into the white over white and start matching. As for me, I didn’t change at all on the first day. After getting my kits, I just dropped everything in my hostel and went around checking the place out. Our camp was pretty large. There was a larger girl’s hostel than boys and the parade ground was enormous. Mami market was ridiculous! They had everything from food, to tailors, book sellers, hairdressers, suya joints, cloth sellers, shoes, convenience stores, laundry, a mini club, alcohol, and we also had to pay to charge our phones so many were there too. First day was fantastic until I needed to use the restroom. When I saw what I had to work with, I changed my mind and held on for 3 days before I went back there. After that, I made sure I went back only when absolutely necessary.
Second day came and we started practicing for our swearing in parade! We were posted in the sun for about 5 hours, during the times when the sun was highest in the sky. It was ridiculous and it was probably the hardest day for me throughout all of camp because it was nerve wrecking and I knew nobody in my platoon so I just stood there and suffered in the sun. Also had been awoken since 2am by overeager ladies who didn’t understand the concept of not needing 3 hrs to get ready for the day! Also, we would be yelled at and threatened with big sticks by soldiers for things we didn’t even know we were doing wrong. We also got into trouble for breaking rules we didn’t even know existed. For example, my bunkmate B and I (with another girl J) got into trouble for wearing flip flops to mami market during one of our break times but we didn’t know we had to wear our white shoes all the time! (We also didn’t get a rule book till Thursday after we arrived). On the third day, we were sworn in, with the deputy governor of Kaduna in attendance. Thursday, we had to go turn in all our registration documents in, as well as make copies of different documents including our diplomas, passports and transcripts. We also had our welcome to camp social that evening. The event ended around 10:30 and they told everyone to go sleep after that but people were hyped up and didn’t want to comply. Also they found about 7 students who were at the club, mostly wasted and when approached and yelled at, one of them slapped the soldier. Thus we got out first fire alarm/night lecture!
It was not at all funny. We had just gone to bed less than an hour, when at midnight, they blew the bugle telling us to go to the parade ground! We all thought it was a joke but quickly realized it wasn’t when we had soldiers barging into our hostels and yelling at us to go to the parade ground as is! We got there only to receive a lecture from the camp commandant on how to be good and respectable people who respect those in charge of us. The culprits were brought up for all to see and they were all FCT students (thus started the FCT vs. KD issue in our camp!) The camp commandant droned on for another hour, most of which I spent trying not to fall asleep where I was sitting on the ground. After it was over, we trudged back to our hostel and I just crawled into bed, only for 3 hours sleep and then back to the day. The next day was pretty mellow, with our platoon practicing the play we were going to put on for the camp. It was a competition between platoons and this was my forte so I was there for that one. It was a play about the FCT vs. KD drama and it tried to give a resolution to the whole issue (PS – the FCT vs. KD drama was that KD students thought all the FCT students were acting spoiled and forming big too much and figured we should suck it up and stop acting as if we were too big to be there. Our argument was that we weren’t used to the way things were here, things could be done better n its frustrating to know that and still not be able to do anything about it, and we needed a little time to adjust to the way things were and they should stop acting as if all of us were forming or complaining. As time went on, FCT students were even better than KD students at participating and getting stuff done so there!) The play was really nice and would be presented the next day. That night I also only had 3 hrs sleep (that’s 6 hrs sleep in 48 hrs) because we had to wake up the next morning at 2am to go and wash the beans for akara or bean cake (each platoon had to cook one day and it was our turn). For lunch we made tuwo – my first time tasting it – and okra soup and for dinner, it was jollof rice and fried fish. Our meal was delicious but we were exhausted by the end of the evening. I helped cook breakfast and lunch but had to go practice after that for the play which would be presented at that evening’s social. The competition socials consisted of 2 platoons dancing traditional dances and 2 platoons presenting a play. Unfortunately, by the time of the play I had lost my voice and we couldn’t use a mike. Overall though, the play went well and the audience loved it but we didn’t win first place :( . The good part was that by now, I had already made great friends in the platoon who would continue with me throughout the rest of camp and who I am missing even now, 2 days back from camp!
To be continued…

Photo Credit:http://www.punchng.com/images/August/Tuesday/pix2008081216556.jpg


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21
http://www.jaguda.com/author/t-l-bridges/

Just a restless citizen of the world, always in search of answers, lessons and inspiration by those she is blessed to meet~ (corny but true)

Comments

Comments
  • Ngo November 16, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Honestly, when I glanced at you blog, I was like OMG how can I have time to read that. But I did anyway, and it was really nice. I kinda felt like I was there with you. You definitely took me (the reader) along with this descriptive narrative. Thanks for sharing.

  • ShadeNoncon November 16, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Interesting. Why oh why would a student slap a soldier? That's just asking for trouble right there. Lol. Some people sha. Glad you had fun&made new friends, minus the stress. Haha @ the FCT vs KD drama.

  • mr ade November 16, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    pls continue. i am being entertained. thanks for sharing this piece with us.

  • iTalk November 16, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Nice read…..

    we wey go military school sabi wetin u go through….

    At least you've been exposed to the milder side of stuff compared to what we went through…..

    I love the article….

    Cheers

  • licia November 17, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    Ok. This is an interesting story/diary/journal. But when I clicked on this, I was expecting to read about a Nigerian-American ( that means a Nigerian born in the US) who had never been to Nigeria telling a story about their NYSC experience. I dont understand why, after spending only a few years in the US, you would refer to urself as a "yankee babe". Living in America doesn't actually mean you are an American, and even if you have gotten "naturalized" your passport still clearly states that your country of birth is Nigeria.

    • T.L. Bridges November 19, 2010 at 12:52 am

      @ licia! Thanks for your observation but yours is a mighty constrictive definition of yankee. Yes! I am a nigerian who has lived in the US almost 9 yrs and believe me coming back here was as much an awakening to how much I've changed (or maybe its naija that has changed) because I am re-experiencing things anew as I go everyday. So maybe u don't expect me to call myself a yankee cos I am not a real yankee babe. But it is just a title, the main thing is the content n the experiences involved so focus more on that. For everyone else, yeah I'm not US born, just lived there for a while now.. Thanks all for reading

    • Licia December 9, 2010 at 9:51 am

      @ LICIA…JEALOUSY! WHY ARE YOU GUYS IN NIGERIA SO QUICK TO JUDGE NIGERIANS ABROAD? SMH.

    • Anonymous June 16, 2011 at 11:46 am

      Dude chill out… The term “yankee babe” does not mean u were born in America or have a blue passport…it simply means u live or have lived in America for a while. No one is talking about or making any references to the color of your passport. Living in Nigeria is huge culture change for anyone especially if you’ve been out of the system for a while…..9 yrs is a lifetime.

      T.L I totally understand what you are talking about per the culture change and learning things afresh cos I just moved back a week ago and I feel like a fish out of water.

  • myne Whitman November 18, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Interesting blog. All the best with the remainder of your assignment.

  • BOS November 18, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Awesome! OMG first time seeing your post, I had to back track to your previous posts and read everything! I LOVED IT… as in every bit of it. You write like me (hehe, descriptive and detailed way of writing), like Ngo said I felt like I was there. Hurry up and post more pls. I can't wait to serve too, I've heard not so great things about camp (mostly the restroom issue) but I want to experience it all but hopefully they fix that bathroom problem up asap.

    U ROCK!

    • T.L. Bridges November 19, 2010 at 1:03 am

      Haha BOS. Glad you liked it! As for the bathroom situation, well good luck with that. I can tell you tho that after the first week, u don't even stress it anymore. It still sucks but u have so many other things to focus on that u just deal with the bathroom situation while reminding yourself that it is only for a short time! Amazing experience tho! It is soooo much fun!!! Part 4 will be up very soon, promise!

  • Beny November 28, 2010 at 1:03 am

    can some1 pls tell me wot FCT and KD means????lol

    • T.L. Bridges December 21, 2010 at 8:49 am

      FCT is federal capital territory and KD is Kaduna. The fct ppl were the abuja coppers that were sent to camp there and the kd ppl were the actual kaduna coppers.

  • Julez November 29, 2010 at 2:42 am

    I LOVE your diary!!! I'm in london and im considering doing my NYSC after i grad in 2012…you're diary is definitely helping me decide i want to do it. i cant wait!!! i was always so nervous, because i've never lived in nigeria for longer than 2 months (holiday visits)…but after reading your diary i think i can handle it lol…cant wait to read the rest!

  • shayii December 30, 2010 at 4:04 am

    i can definitely rememba dt nite wen we wr all woken up @ around 1am….twas d worst nite on camp.it made me dislike d fct peeps but i later got closer to some n found out dr are still gud peeps among dem…love ur post

    • T.L. Bridges January 28, 2011 at 12:43 am

      Were you in KD camp??? ooh cool!!! and yeah it really was one of the worst nights on camp, i was doing everything to not fall asleep where i sat with my wrapper around myself and i just wanted to cry n scream all at the same time! and believe me, the effed up FCT ppl were actually the minority in the group nt the majority but yeah, a lot of kd ppl felt the same way you did. Thanks for reading :)

  • Naija4Life May 30, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Reading your about time doing the NYSC gave me goose pimples. It reminded me about my NYSC experience in 2003 in a town called Saki in Oyo State. I was the CLO at the time and espite the recent negative press about the NYSC it was an experience that left me with fond memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I would describe it as a bitter-sweet experience, I know it's not everyone's cup of tea but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  • Oladipokj April 12, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    If you think your experience is worst, click on this links to know what my experience was like

    Diary of a OTONDO in NYSC camp, Abuja (Day 1) http://brev.is/Pwj2

    Diary of a OTONDO in NYSC camp, Abuja (Day 2) http://brev.is/yMk2

    Gallery of NYSC Corpers in Kubwa, Abuja http://brev.is/JJm2

    You can follow me on twitter @oladipokj for more update or subscribe to my blog at http://www.educatenigeria.org.ng/blog

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