NYSC member shares orientation camp experience – A corper’s tale

by Olabode Emmanuel Olawumi

Camp was fun. Although, I didn’t love every part of it. There was the good, the bad and the ugly.

Let me tell you about the ugly and the bad before I tell you about the good.

The Ugly

*Pensive* The truth is, there was no ugly moment at the orientation camp. I didn’t have any ugly experience. Others might have, but I can’t remember a personal one.

The bad

Was there any bad moment for me in camp? I think I had a few of them. After eating at Mami market a couple of times, I ceased feeding my stomach with their food. There was this strange smell that made me nauseous. No matter how hard I tried to explain to people, only one or two people among those I explained to admitted they noticed the same thing.

It was this soapy taste and odour that came with the food. Someone said it could have been related to the use of little pepper. I heard the people here don’t like so much pepper. They add a minute amount to their delicacies. I committed myself to the food from the kitchen it was better (in taste for me). The turn off was how small each meal was.

It didn’t even get anywhere. Often times, I complemented it with Indomie and egg prepared at Mami. I didn’t have any complain about that. Being unable to get satisfaction from the meals was a turn off for me. Asides the food, I can’t remember any other bad moment. Wait a minute. The lectures were not meant for me. Too long and irrelevant. Personal opinion!

The good!

Holy Moses!

Where do I start from?

EBONYI WHATSAPP GROUP

I got added to TM EBONYI A’2 Group by Thomicom the Thursday before we were meant to resume camp. I wanted to get myself familiar with what was ahead me. I had earlier planned to travel Sunday morning but one Dhebbie in the group suggested we travelled on Saturday night so we could get to Enonyi during the day.

Thomicom and I agreed to join her on the trip, since her idea made sense. At 9:30pm on Saturday night, The Young Shall Grow Luxurious bus conveying us to Ebonyi state departed Jibowu bus stop. I slept most part of the night journey until we got to Enugu early the next morning. I was awake till we arrived Abakaliki. It was another 1 hour 30 minutes drive from Abakaliki to Afikpo, where the orientation camp is situated.

The three of us got to camp some minutes after noon and that was how the journey began. I also got familiar with a couple of people from the WhatsApp group. Some, I met in person, others I didn’t. So far, the group has been a sweet and interesting family. People like Marrie, Queen B, Busayo, Kristie, Massive, Dr Phil, Vingeophysicst, The Law, Debbie, Tomiwa, among others are names I can’t forget.

OBS…

OBS was turnt!

I joined the Orientation Broadcast Service (OBS) and was appointed the Head, Correspondent. My duty was to work with other correspondents to gather news for the news casters. I also had the opportunity to be a newscaster. I never knew I could do that. I think I should pay more attention to, and maximize my voice. It’s good for radio, acting (I know this already), presenting and the likes.

I became friends with and met lovely people at OBS; Obi, Diran, Ogaga, Uche, Dami, Uzor, Ngozi, Bobola, Ololade, Tobi, MC Believer, to mention a few. These young individuals confirmed the fact that Nigeria is filled with young, innovative, hardworking, excellent, creative, dedicated individuals. I watched them sacrifice a lot to work with the NYSC officials to organise and manage programmes.

They proved to me that truly, OBS is the light, voice and heart of the camp. These great men brought their skills to work and we all saw it. Time will not permit me to mention the special qualities and the lessons I learnt from the aforementioned persons. My only message for them is to continue being the best in their chosen field and make service and humility their watchword.

PARADE

The parade was another good thing that happened to me. I wasn’t just enchanted by the activities; the soldiers were the best thing after independence. From them, I learnt commitment, loyalty, sacrifice, leadership, victory, practice, diligence in words, humor and lots more.

Forget those huge figures dressed in Khaki, they were fun to be with in camp. They made camp rock. The commandant, the RSM, the other members of the army who led each platoon were amazing. The parade was something I looked forward to but once it gets to a stage I can’t stand the stress, I take a sick excuse or I flaunt my OBS card, claim I have work to do and move down to the studio.

Although I didn’t have to be in the OBS studio every time, It however was an escape from the parade ground when the need emerged.

PLATOON 8

My platoon was a conglomerate of back benchers from various universities. By benchers, I mean the lackadaisical ones. They were unbothered about anything and everything. We topped the chart in being punished. We had so much noise makers and care free people who just wanted to be done with it.

Thanks to Saheed, who got us gold in the Miss Pretty Competition and our girls who tried to find a 3rd position in Volleyball, we would have been as worse as platoons 2 and 5. I doubt if those ones got any recognition at all. However, in the last few hours of camp, I felt my platoon members bonded better.

I saw a lot of people participate in preparation for the cooking competition. We had inputs from a lot of people. At the end it was a great time. I can’t conclude this part without mention of Adaora, Emmanuel, Chichi (my platoon lover), Sherriff, Zubbie, IB  and their crew. They were the real gees.

Despite  the lack of interest, support and cooperation from a larger part of the platoon members, they gave their all into seeing that we could move forward as a team. They had the zeal but we underestimated them.

PLATOON 4

The Dreaded Platoon

Officer Sahaad! (I hope I got the spelling). That man is phenomenal. He is a true definition of a leader. Ambitious, motivated, a motivator, a disciplinarian to the core, a friend, a colleague. Words aren’t just enough to describe this man. I would pick him as my Man of the Orientation Camp. His platoon was the envy of all.

From the first day with his platoon members,  he made it clear he was here to win, win and win. He grabbed the highest number of trophies in the competitions held in camp. Although, he had some huge losses, he was undeterred. He soared high above other platoon officers and led his team to victory. I will never forget this man and I would say I was fortunate to have had an interview with him.

THE LADIES

I know this is a part a lot of people would want to hear. Before I went to camp, I have heard so much unprintable words about boy-girl relationships in camp. I heard a lot of people throw caution to the wind in camp. I also got familiar with the “What happens in camp stays in camp” line.

I witnessed a few firsthand but I heard stories too. The things I saw eeehn… My mouth cannot mutter. I had a crush on one particular girl, I liked another, but that was just all about it. I decline to speak further on this before SHE comes asking me questions.

Let’s just say, I didn’t get myself involved in anything that would have tarnished my image or ruined my relationship with the best woman in the world after my mother.

NYSC DG

The Director General of the National Youths Service Corps, NYSC, Sulyman Kazaure paid a visit to Ebonyi on July 17th. He visited us – Batch A, Stream 2 corps members at the Orientation Camp in Afikpo, Ebonyi State.

I had a rare privilege to have an interview with him, courtesy, OBS and the ever supportive Ebonyi camp, PRO. We also had an opportunity to take a picture with the boss himself, alongside the state coordinator, Mrs Gladys Mbachi. I felt I had just been in a picture with the president. I forever cherish that moment.

PPA

My heart beamed with joy when I received my letter for my Place of Primary Assignment (PPA). I was posted to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism without lobbying for anything. Eeerm. That’s God’s grace at work.

He’s a faithful God. I was thinking earlier today, and I remembered my final year project was: Promoting Culture and National Unity through Nigerian Films, using Tunde Kelani’s “Arugba” and “Thunderbolt” as a case study.

Could it be a coincidence? I don’t think so. A lot of people have been asking me if I redeployed. They get disappointed when I say NO. The next question they ask is “How will you be able to run OYA from Ebonyi?”

OYA is a moving train. OYA is not just me. OYA is a team of creative and talented individual coming together to make a difference in their society. As a team, we will combine our experience, influence and demography to build a global leading media brand.

We have a team of people in different parts of the country and we will all unite to serve our readers and client better. Personally, I’m optimistic about my posting and I’m believing in God for the best in this service year.

I am keeping an open mind. This will be the most interesting year ever. No time for negativity. Positive vibes only. Regardless of how the system frustrates us, we will continue to do our best in our own capacity. God bless Nigeria.

 

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