My experience would surely be different from that of toothers in the csmp or other camps. I know that sound mundane but I am giving you a hint to know that my stay at the camp was a busy one but not as busy as some and to some it might look ordinary. I had my Nysc camping at Nysc Permanent Orientation Camp, Ede, Osun.
So the first day of entering the camp started with a pat-down check at the gate. I got the same feeling one gets whenever one was signing to a rehabilitation home. I just wanted to enter, change for good in time, and return home. Therefore, when I got the hostel to the hostel that was pointed to me as a temporary abode, I knew my wish would never stop being on my mind. I met a man whose stomach could compete with that of a seven-month pregnant woman. He was the one assigning a bedspace to us. I entered the room only to be redirected to another room to pick a bed. Such a relief! I thought that was the end until I learnt from others that we would get a meal ticket. Oh what a sweet sensation!, I left the hostel with my documents because I don’t want anything to disturb me, and headed for the venue for the food ticket. After standing in a queue for up to ten minutes, the man said that was my final destination and not my starting point, which means that I had to go a place he pointed to.
The moment I saw where he pointed to, I knew I was in trouble. The place he pointed to had a very long queue that made me feel as if they wouldn’t ever leave the place. However, upon getting there, I was redirected like a web page link to another long queue. I scaled through that and was planning to rest for the rest of the day, but had to have a change of plan when I got into a hall I was directed. This time the queue was dynamic, it looked as if we were in for a long time with the number of people I saw there. Luckily, we were given seats, so despite the time it took, I still survived. When I got to the place I went initially, I was lucky to get a chance to choose between the last two clothes and shoes etc. on the ground. Funny enough, none of them was my size. I had to start searching for a place to change them. Most of the materials of the clothes are disturbingly inferior but that is a story for another day.
The next day was our official resumption day. At 5 a.m, one of the soldiers blew a biggle. A lot of Corps member created a lyrics to the sound of the biggle. ‘you called us, you have brought mayhem upon yourself’. That morning, a list of instructions were given, many of which became a routine. That morning, we learnt what platoon was. The platoons were divided by the last digit of our digits. I was in platoon 7. When Parade drilling started, you needed to see the way people were crashing to the ground- fainting and pretending to faint. I almost went down too but I defied authority and bent down. God punish Satan.
Parade drill reduced after our swearing-in. The remaining parade became a parade for only those who could march. And I was one of them, but I didn’t make it down there as per proud boy things. In fact, that day I was sleeping in my office while my people were working on the field.
Not that I was actually proud, but I joined the Orientation broadcasting service, which took most of my time over there. We had to get to the office by 4:30 a.m to register our presence. By the time the Man’O’ War members are getting to our hostel with their song which says that they wake by 3 a.m. while the lazy ones wake by 4 a.m, I am already on the way to OBS office. There, our main purpose is to place things in order for the morning devotion. Well, I’m not sure I really carried anything.
Instead of the heavy duty, I joined the team that has access to any place- the media team. I was made their head, not for my prowess but for the fact that I was the tallest and the one that looked like all of them. I am Yoruba but many regard me as Hausa or Igbo, depending on how your eyes decide to deceive you. But I was good at organizing anything online, please quote me, online. So, it was easy to do. There were a lot of graphic designers and video editors but two bloggers- I and another guy.
Unfortunately, many of them encountered obstacle at the beginning. There was no Laptop for use at the beginning to edit our works, but later we got one. However, many of them left because they assume OBS was a place to sit and escape parade drill. But since many of them had been removed from the parade, they got the chance to seat while others are working. God save lazy people. So our job was to run around to capture incredible pictures. That was why I missed going to the jungle, we were editing recent pictures, but I still went there only to take pictures. I did not go there to pretend to be a Man’O’War by climbing those instruments of death. Oh! I missed a lot of food also. Most times, we were so overwhelmed with work that we would miss food, crawl to Maami market, then return to our work.
However, the fun part of my camp was that we called it ‘Gay camp’ because it was filled with over 1700 men and just 300 women, many of whom are married or looked old. So guys had to prove their worth to the remaining ones. Can you believe in OBS, there was this very fair, short, beautiful lady, whom all the guys were crushing on? Even we, the engaged and the alpha males, had our way of making her know we are crushing on her. But the most unfortunate aspect was that she was engaged.
After reminiscing on all these, when I got outside, I now understand why people in America prison despite their little freedom and encouraging lifestyles always desire to leave the prison at all cost.