In my last piece I wrote about my first day in camp and briefly complained about the food (please read “Experience of a corper (I)”). I later found out that was just the beginning; the introduction in the long list of “wonderful” items on our food menu. It is day eleven today, the story continues…
Before my arrival I’ve heard lots about Kogi. I was told food and food items are relatively cheap, my experience so far proved that wrong. We eat five main foods, judiciously rotated in a way that reminds me of the crop rotation system I learnt during my undergraduate days. Our menu contains bread and tea, beans (sometimes with pap), eba and egusi soup, something and okro soup (don’t know what to call it) and rice. The tea which we call warm water is always warm, though light; the bread, weightless and often deformed! The eba and egusi are most times okay, except for the days the soup decides to be
flood-like watery. Next is that something probably made from corn or cassava flour, synonymous to semo vita only in consistency, never in taste. Beans seems to be the only good protein we eat. I laughed when we were asked to voluntarily donate blood. Me? Blood? Never knew an Igbo fella beside me was in the same spirit with me. He replied silently in proper pidgin; “Shoo? With this food wey we dey chop? Abeg ask for another thing. If na bloody okro you want I get am. Na okro full my blood as I dey so.”
It’s not my place to judge anyone but we all know it’s either the government’s fault or management’s (that will be a story for another day). To the glory of God I never skipped a meal! The situation grouped us into three in no time; the ones who don’t have much to patronise Mami market—a market in the camp famous for its high item cost—and so must stick to the camp’s meal. The ones with enough money—probably with a mini-atm in their pouch—to patronise Mami market and disregard the camp’s food, and the ones who want to belong to the group of the “big boys” and exhaust their transport fare and allowances in the process. I agree with you if you call them fools.
Perhaps I should tell you more about the Mami. The popular Mami market where you buy a cup at the price of a bucket (I mean it). I’ve been forced to patronise her a few times out of necessity and I was seriously not glad I did. There’s hardly any necessary good or service you won’t get there, you just name it (even if you need someone to brush your teeth…after paying of course). I don’t blame anyone, we are all trying to survive and make it in the shortest possible time.
Even though it seems I’m so focused on the dull areas, I experienced a few bright ones. The management incorporates social and cultural activities as a part of our routine, ranging from cultural dances and others—including the trending kukere, azonto, atilogwu and the old makossa—drama, football/volleyball competitions, choral, “Miss Big, Bold and Beautiful” and the famous platoon day where the platoon on duty takes charge of the affairs of the day. I won’t fail to mention the talks and fun we have everyday, especially those of the night when we are supposed to be in bed (light out is 10pm) which, most times land us in trouble…proudly powered by the soldiers. One of the aims and objectives of NYSC was achieved after all; I got the chance to meet many characters from various parts of the country.
One of the moments I really enjoyed was the comedy night as it was a great chance to relax, have fun, and most importantly, get back at our trainers and instructors…after all, it is called comedy (all parties know it’s the real thing though). I also won’t forget the various revised commands (the corper versions are really nice). Every Kogi corper (my batch) must sure know the famous “Attention by number, Curve 1! Bold 2!” “Motherf*ckers halt!” Another event I enjoy is the early morning jogging accompanied by the morale boosting songs (“Ogogoro wetin I do you…” is actually my favourite). It is quite unlike the solo jogs often characterised by low enthusiasm. I almost forgot the Man ‘O’ war village. Believe me, you’re not a full youth corper if you do not pass through that place.
Now, the ladies. I know I’ll disappoint a lot if I fail to write about them. They make the world go round, shebi? I’ll be very brief. Talk about beauties of varying degrees, shapes and forms, you’re in the right place (not that you’re in the wrong location in the case of “the less beautiful” though). Right here, if not everywhere, most ladies act as though they are daughters of rich men; a few remain true. In addition to that, they know how to put P-square’s “chop my money” into action. Picture this: boy meets girl, takes girl to Mami, girl proves exotic and eats what her dad never for once gave her, boy foots the bill (before nko?), the aforementioned repeats itself, lady redeploys after three weeks. Story ends.
Orientation camp is a place where lots happen. I can’t write it all but I guess I’ve done justice by pouring out some, I feel a bit light now. A very nice juncture to give my thumbs and keypads a little break.
It’s a few minutes after 6pm, the flag is already down. Goodnight Nigeria!
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Adewoyin Joseph || @Jossef69