MY NYSC EXPERIENCE: LAGOS CAMP

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Hey guys, I'm back with a highly requested blog post and it's all about my NYSC experience. Before going to camp, I already talked about NYSC and the aim of the program. You can find the blogpost HERE. I'll try not to bore you all and be straight to the point.

The process of registering online was so stressful. I got to the cyber cafe around 8am in the morning on the day the NYSC portal opened and I was there till 6pm that day. I couldn't cry but I was frustrated because the server was slow and the procedure for International students was so long and really annoying. So, if you are thinking of registering for NYSC, you have to be patient cos you will be frustrated.
So, after getting mobilized to a particular state, each corp member is expected to go to the camp in that state for the first of the four cardinal programs of NYSC scheme.
The four cardinal programs are:
Orientation and mobilization
Place of Primary Assignment 
Community Development Service
Winding-up / Passing Out.
My outfit the day I  was going to camp. I was still fresh here.
For the sake of this post, we'll be talking about the orientation course only. So, I was posted to Lagos State and the orientation camp started on the 24th of July at the NYSC camp in Iyana-Ipaja, Agege. Before going to camp, I had a check list of the necessary things to take along and had two boxes and some extra things cos I really had to go prepared. 
Truth is I was excited and scared at the same time simply because I had heard terrible stories about camp but I really wanted to experience it myself and also made up my mind to stay for the 21 days.
I went to camp with my new friend by name Naomi I started talking to before camp. Shout-out to Kubie for hooking us up. My dad's driver took us there and on getting to the gate, the struggle started!!! Only the corpers were allowed to enter into the premises and I started struggling with my two boxes, bucket, bowl and pillow. Our boxes had to be checked to be sure no contrabands. The moment I dragged my two boxes in, one woman at the gate started shouting hey you! where do you think you are going with those two boxes?? does this look like your fathers house? we don't have space for two boxes. I became weak immediately and started explaining myself to her ma I had to bring all the necessary things. To cut the long story short, she seized my sewing kit. I was cleared at the gate and started walking down to the hostel area which was a stone throw from the gate. Naomi helped with some of my things and that made it easier.
Bukky and Naomi :)
On getting to the hostel, we had to queue up to get our rooms and fortunately for me, I was in the same room with Naomi and our beds were beside each other. We shared our room with about 28 other people and my room number was 28. It was on the last floor. Our room leader was selected and she assigned someone to create a whatsapp group for the room. I'm really grateful for everyone in that room because there was no issue of theft or someone acting strange. Everyone behaved well and we had a nice time. After we sorted out accommodation, we had to go back downstairs for registration. It was really annoying!! about 3500 corpers or even more were registered during the registration process although some had to leave like nursing mothers, those with health issues, pregnant women, etc.
Registration took myself and Naomi two days and we were assigned to different platoons. We had a total of 10 platoons and I was in platoon 2. A platoon is like your small group of family in camp, you guys get to do all the activities together, sit together and compete with other platoons. We had a male and female platoon Inspector.
We were then directed to our various platoons to collect our NYSC kits which consists of
  • A Khaki jacket and trouser
  • NYSC Crested Vest
  • NYSC Cap
  • NYSC belt
  • Two pairs of white plain vest
  • Two pairs of white shorts
  • A pair of Jungle boots
  • A pair of white canvas.
This part was so annoying because my boots and khaki were oversize like it was terrible but I was able to finally adjust the khaki and change my boots. The cap couldn't even enter my head I had to remake another one at the Mami market for N1000 naira. The quality of the t-shirt was also poor but I wasn't really expecting something fantastic and was glad I went with enough. Funny enough, during our online registration, we had the option of choosing our different sizes but truth is they never follow the sizes we pick. I also had to write my name on my things. We were finally done with the registration process and ready to fully experience camp since we already made up our mind to stay for 21 days.
Just had to bring some style to the camp ground 
We were referred to as Prospective Corp members (PCMs) before the swearing in ceremony and referred to as Gentle men corp members after the swearing in ceremony. Swearing in ceremony was like a parade ceremony where we were officially welcomed to camp and had special guests grace the occasion. The Army were in charge of anything related to parade in camp and trust them to take it personal lol! We had our welcome party Friday night after getting to camp on Tuesday and it was okay lol. Don't want to go into details.
Corper Shun!
CAMP ACTIVITIES
I used to wakeup 2am every morning just because I always wanted to shower early and not start rushing the bathroom when everyone was. The beagle was always blown at 04:20hrs and we all are expected to be on the parade ground before 05:00hrs.
The national anthem is recited first followed by the NYSC anthem and pledge after which the platoon on duty for the day takes the meditation topic for the day and the National prayer which is also the second stanza of the national anthem. The state coordinator an amazing man by the way always gives a brief speech just like a father after which he calls out the celebrants of the day. This is usually followed by CDS nuggets by the CDS officer and then the camp director takes the roll call, makes the daily declaration and finally a brief talk. We all had to learn the NYSC anthem which goes thus:
Youths Obey the Clarion Call, 
Let us lift our nation high, 
Under the sun or in the rain, 
With dedication and selflessness, 
Nigeria's ours Nigeria we serve.
 I love the anthem.
After this, the muslim brothers and sisters go for their morning prayer while the christians start praise, worship and finally pray. All these are handled by the platoon on duty. At exactly 06:00hrs, the beagle is blown the second time and everyone is supposed to stand still as the Nigerian flag is being taken up by a Man 'o' war official. This signifies that Nigeria is awake lol. This is usually followed by Physical training which was always fun because we always exercised with music. Lagos camp was lit!!!
After that, we have Man 'o' war activities, drills handled by the Army and then lectures till 07:30hrs after which we go and prepare for the other activities of the day some of which includes; Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) lectures and training where we receive different speakers from different sphere of life, Man 'O' War drills, preparation for competitions, other social activities in the night and then light out at 22:30hrs.
 At 06:00hrs, the beagle is blown again and the Nigerian flag is brought down which signifies that Nigeria is going to sleep lol!
The platoon on duty are put into groups and assigned to different areas in camp some which includes sanitation, kitchen, security, etc.. which means youth corpers were actively involved in everything that was going on in camp and I think it's something really cool. I mean what is the essence of camp if not to experience something new. Don't get me wrong guys! At some point, I wanted to go home waking up 2am was no fun, having to wear white on white everyday with socks and canvas became so boring  and the worst part for me was food.
I wont even lie guys Lagos camp is actually really good and I think the best camp compared to other camps. Don't come for me lol. The state coordinator made sure we had a great time, was always ready to listen, was approachable, we had water, power supply at night with the stand by generator whenever PHCN decided not to give us light, tarred floor, clean environment and finally, we had tents and chairs to sit on during lectures. It was a blessing. The camp officials actually tried. It's not easy leaving your family for 21 days and also having to deal with youths. The Military men were also not as strict as other states cos I heard some stories and was like thank God I'm in Lagos!!
Bukky, Naomi & Jacob
The Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development Trainings lasted for about two weeks in camp before competitions started. NYSC Lagos has 264 SAED partners to train Corp members for the duration of one year on various skills. I think its a really good initiative cos right now, the things you are able to do will really help you and might be your main source of income. Entrepreneurship is the way now.
The motto for the SAED program is Corp members creating wealth.
There were a lot of activities in camp some which had sponsors which includes: Honeywell cooking competition, volleyball competition, dance & drama competition, camp idol, art jamboree, Football, table tennis, parade competition, cultural display, camp fire night, camp carnival, etc.
I marched for my platoon guys! It was tiring, marching under the sun and in the rain was no joke but felt so good because I was doing something different and we all put in handwork. Participating in activities means you'll definitely get dark in camp. In fact, I became black lol!
My parade team actually taught me a lot. I'm glad I marched for my platoon and the handwork payed off when we came second in the parade competition. I also represented my platoon in the Miss Nysc contest. It was actually a great opportunity for me considering the fact that I needed to put myself out there and conquer stage fright once and fore-all. Guys I did well. I'm saying this not because of what people told me but because I put in so much effort like my life depended on it. From my costumes, to rehearsals and my performance on that day.
I'm not even trying to hype myself but I wasn't scared, I danced, answered my question smiled and even skipped on stage. So proud of myself although I didn't win but I don't want to talk too much because we all know what happened that night.
Lets talk about the welfare of corpers. Corp members were entitled to free feeding (breakfast, lunch and dinner). I never used to eat in the kitchen because I never liked the food they served sometimes so the best option was to get food at Mami market and it wasn't funny the first week cos everything I ate made me sick, uncomfortable and had to settle for bread and then thank God I went with cereal too. With time, I adjusted and I was good. Mami market had virtually everything and I wasn't stressing myself to wash my clothes because I didn't want them to get stolen and didn't even have the time so I had my guy J&J laundry who was in charge of my outfits. Prices were reasonable in Mami and most people always went to mami to chill. Mami comes alive at night but I was always in my room lol.. There were places to also charge phones at Mami but I was fortunate to have a socket beside my bed where I could charge my phone. We had just two functioning mobile atms in camp so you can always imagine the queue.
We had a camp clinic which was run by corper Doctors with support from other senior medical personnels either from the state or federal government.
I also enjoyed church in camp. It reminded me of my church in Uni. I attended Nigerian Christian Corpers Fellowship Lagos chapter in camp and Sundays were the only days we got to wear mufti till 2pm after which we had to change back to white.
I also really love the NYSC Lagos brigade band. They always burst my brain. I wanted to learn snare drums so bad but didn't have the time as I was always rehearsing for my platoon and the rehearsals always clashed.
Camp fire & carnival
We were paid 3 allowances while in camp and they were:
N1800 for transport allowance from the state we live to state of service, N1400 for local transport allowance also referred to as bicycle allowance and finally N19,800 our first month and regular allowance, making it a total of N23,000.
We had to open new accounts too for our monthly allowance.
I met some amazing people in camp that made camp worth it. I hope to be friends with long term and cant mention all their names, also met some really annoying people the opposite sex especially I'm sure you guys know why. S/o to my parade team, my roommates, Gang we know ourselves, some of my platoon members, photographers, some camp officials, Military and Man 'o' War officials.
I am actually proud of myself because I went, I saw and I survived and I'm ready to take up any political position in future. I learnt a lot some which includes endurance, determination, teamwork, patience, became stronger, made sure I took part in most activities and the truth is you are actually stronger than you think. I remember telling my mum I was going to climb ropes and she was like Bukola please don't join them and I understood where she was coming from but I did lol. It was a great experience. So many people were not even expecting I would stay for 3 days lol.
Bukky, Naomi, Jacob, Zainab, Tiwalade & Gigi :)
Will I want to have the experience again if I had the opportunity to? NO!!!
RECOMMENDATIONS
1) Registration should be made easier. It was frustrating. This should be looked into.
2) There should be other varieties of food not serving the same thing
3) The camp officials in charge of our allowances should be friendly. Some of them are so rude wow! they just talk anyhow. It's really not good insulting a corp member. You never know who the person is and if you will meet and need the person outside camp. The Army officials were even more friendly than most of them.
4) The camp clinic should have the necessary medications and other things. I had a skin reaction, went to the clinic because there was no pharmacy for me to buy what I needed to use and the doctor on duty that saw me wrote in my paper my diagnosis and the necessary ointment to use and signed out but he never prescribed or gave me anything. I had to leave and sort myself out. I really don't blame him because if they had it at that moment, he would have given me.
5) They should have more mobile atms in camp
6) For the Miss NYSC and Mr Macho pagent, they should bring external judges not camp officials. I'm sorry to say this, most of them have no idea about pageantry imagine a military man being one of the judges like seriously? and I don't think height should be a criteria because from the very first time, people were already telling me my height might be an issue. I can understand beauty pageants require height but shouldn't be in this case.
7) They need to get better sponsors for some of the activities I mean its Lagos what do we want people in other states to do? Imagine other contestants getting 3 yards of customized ankara fabrics of the sponsor, a bottle of wine from the sponsor and some of us didn't even get the wine lmao. So poor I wont even mention the name of the brand. They could have done better!!
8) The NYSC app should be made available for iOS not all of us use Android phones.
I'm so sorry this post is just coming up considering the fact that I left camp mid august. It's been one hustle or the other, trying to sort out my PPA and I needed to get the necessary pictures for this post.
Thanks so much for visiting and let me know what you think. Have you had your orientation course? if yes, what was your experience like? I'll love to know and please feel free to ask me any questions i'll be glad to help. Till my next post. Cheers!!

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3 comments

  1. I enjoyed reading this post, it felt like I was in camp with you lol, well done 👍🏾. But you’re one fine corper sha😁

    ReplyDelete
  2. You looked so lovely in all your pictures... did you have any skin care/face care routine during your camping period?

    ReplyDelete

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