In recognition of the 2008 Batch A corpers who will be reporting for orientation camp this March, here’s a snapshot of what to expect those first 3 weeks of your National Youth Service Corps scheme:
On registration day, come very early or very late. By early, I mean the night before. Late is a day or two after registration day. If you don’t heed this advice and like me, you waltz into Abuja’s Kubwa camp at 8:30 a.m. on the D-day, bring an umbrella because you’ll be standing in the sun for the next 10 hours. Also bring a bucket to sit on when the queue is at a 20-minute standstill (this bucket will also be useful for bathing for the next 3 weeks). If you’re a real butter chick, bring your own pillow to pad the bucket so it doesn’t hurt your bum.
If you’re standing outside the camp, ask your neighbor to save your spot on the queue so you can check out the movement at the front. Of course what you’re really doing is looking for a familiar face who will allow you jump the line. In camp, we call it shunting. When you find such a person, quickly thank your old neighbor for watching your stuff and upgrade yourself.
If this scenario doesn’t play out, form close ties with those around you because you don’t know if that guy with bad breath is the nephew to the Bwari Local government Chairman, who will soon send aides to whisk the guy to the front of the line—at which juncture you can claim your buddy ties and also upgrade yourself.
If you’re looking very butterish, a shady man might offer to move you off the streets and into the camp for 1, 000 naira. Say no for two reasons: if you’re going to shunt, use your brains and save your money for the camp’s mammy market. Second, there’ll be no saving face if the soldier at the gate sends you back with a good lashing!
Mentally prepare yourself. Registration will push you to the limit no matter how tush you are. It’s a 2-5 day affair of shoving, yelling, sweating and smelling all sorts of body odors. Be naughty or nonchalant, crafty or charming, whatever persona you chose to imbibe to get your way, remember to throw in a little courtesy to your fellow corpers.
Essentials to bring to NYSC camp:
-Small Bucket (unless you can carry a large one across a hundred feet)
-Ideally, you should bring a mattress and save yourself the horror of sleeping on the camp supplied ones, but they won’t allow it, so save yourself the stress and bring multiple blankets and bed sheets instead.
-Flashlight and extra batteries
-White T shirts, white shorts, white socks and white sneakers
-Vitamin C, aspirin and malaria drugs
-Money to buy food and anything else you forget from the mammy market
If you manage risk well, bring these along:
Digital camera, iPod, your 90,000 naira cellphone
Contraband that you’ll have to surrender at the gate:
Boiling ring, iron, cutlery (don’t ask.)
Put all these (except the bucket) in a small duffel bag and bring a padlock for the duffel. Toilet facilities are shabby so unless you want to perfect the act of shot putting your waste, don’t bring milk, Cerelac, biscuit or anything that will accelerate your digestive processes.