Hey guys, I am one of you who just happened to be a step ahead. However, before I left for camp, there were certain things I wasn’t aware about. Certain things I wasn’t told and trust me, I learnt them the hard way. So before I go about ranting about how I HATED camp, the forced manual labour and whatnots, let me get straight to why you are here reading.
First of, you will arrive at camp surely and it will be hidden somewhere inside a village you probably never heard of before but don’t panic, you aren’t the only one going. You will find company out of strange corper-mate whom you will be forced to just maybe talk to/with and make ‘associates’. Please note, the cab/taxis/bike-men close to where the camp is situated will always charge four times higher the normal price. Please, do not begin to bargain or nag, just remove 100 Naira from the said price and contort your face in a pleading manner; they will carry you because they still did not loose anything. Trust me, I had to pay 500 Naira to the bike-man who carried me from the junction after he told me 600 Naira. I did not even bargain, I just entered and when we got to the camp gate, I just handed him a 500 Naira note and walked away. [Will you believe that I later found out that the price was a 100 Naira? I couldn’t even be angry, I was just sad for Nigeria.]
Secondly, when you arrive the camp gate, you will find sellers of all and sundry: buckets, tooth brush, tooth paste, pee-bucket, bathing bowl, brooms, torchlight, bed-sheets, slippers, towels etc. Don’t stop to buy. Make sure you already have all you need. Don’t even be persuaded. Their prices are way up than the original price. They are extorters…or that’s what I like to call them. Just ignore and move on. Some will even suggest they help you carry your luggage. Don’t even argue. Just let them but keep constant watch over your property till you no longer need their help or they get mad and drop it for you [like they did to me *Laughs*].
Thirdly, as you proceed in, you will be met by some soldiers [they are called gate-warders]. They will check your luggage. They will ask you to open and empty the contents. Be sure not to carry contraband. All of you that went to Nigerian boarding schools know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, let me enlighten you. Contraband in this context means things that you do not require at all in camp e.g. Iron, Laptops, Whiskey, Cigarette, Condom, Colored shoes, knife, Razor blade, Electric Kettle, Cocaine (some people who I don’t know what they were thinking took this along), old Nysc uniform (maybe from your brother, sister, cousin, aunt or uncle; it will be ceased at d gate unless you do a good job of really hiding it or making ur bag invincible!).
Unfortunately, you will be accosted by some strange looking fellows saying th are video men or women and they will tell you how they will video your life throughout camp and why you need to patronise them. They will tell you of the numerous wonderful service that they did for the previous set and make wild stories of how you will look during the man o’war field event, where you shall climb trees and crawl on prickly shrubs and you may be amazed but please don’t be fooled. They will tell you its 500 Naira and it may sound and look cheap in your eye; child of the world, do not pay unless you are very sure you will need the crappy video.
Now after this procedure above of bag checking, you will be required to proceed to the hostels and register your name in some sort of book. You will be allocated a bed space. Try to get the bed space close to the window or the bed space up bunk in a hidden corner (this might come in handy some time later, trust me). If you didn’t know, there are no sockets in any of the rooms, none at all, nada! I know right! Unbelievable! I felt same too when I was struggling to get a bed space by the wall in the name of having a socket close by, only to later realize that there were no sockets anywhere at all.
If you like ask me, so where do I charge my phones? My dear people of God, you shall charge at ‘Mami market’ for 50 Naira per charge. Oh yes, that’s right! So if you know what is good, kindly help yourself with extra batteries and 2-3 power banks of high repute. That way, you will be covered for four days without the stress of having to charge at odd hours and hoping that your amazing phone is safe. People still lost their phones even after being careful. Biko, all ye show off, if you happen to have an ipad, don’t carry it oo. Leave it in your house, you will meet it after camp.
After you get a bed space, you will be asked to lay your bed to show that the space is taken, else when you come back from registration, it will be allocated again to another person and your bags will just be sitting outside gladly waiting for you. From the hostel, you will be required to move to the orientation Hall, to commence proper registration. You will get a form, which you will fill and add to your documents. At my time, the documents required were: call-up/posting letter, Green card i.e the one you printed out before posting/call-up, your university certificate/testimonial, 2 passport photograph, your school ID card, and the form you had just filled. I am guessing that you guys would be required now to also show a medical report from a government hospital as proof to show that you are okay physically to carry on with camp (you all remember the 3 corpers that died during our time? It wasn’t funny.)
I know you probably have photocopied like 10 copies each of all you have. E joor, it’s only one copy that you will need during registration. If you want to be on the safe side, you can have 5 copies each and nothing more. However, have a lot of your passport handy. I think during my time, we used up to 11 passport till we left camp. I’ll mention below all the times we used our passports so that you’ll have an idea.
After you have gotten the required signatures on your paper, you will need to head out to the ICT office to get your registration number. It will later be referred to as your state code number. Your number shall carry your allocated platoon and it will also be used as your ID card till you get the proper one. Remember to get a neck-hang-on for your identity card. Platoon ranges from numbers 1 to 10, so if your state code number ends at 4, say DT/16B/0754, then you will be a member of platoon 4. Note, you don’t get to choose platoon. Your registration determines it.
When you are successful, you will be required to go to your platoon stand to open a file as a platoon member and fill in the forms inside. You will also be required to submit your call-up/posting letter, green card, your school certificate, affix your passport on the oath form and on the file as well. After this is done, you will then get your meal ticket, orientation booklet, and your orientation kit which will usually consist of 1 Nysc Khaki, 1 Nysc jacket, 1 Nysc polo, 1 Nysc boot, 1 white rubber tennis shoe, 2 white shorts, 2 white polo, 2 Nysc socks, and 1 Nysc branded cap. This is the funniest part. The above listed items are never anybody’s size. Forget the waist details and shoe size you provided them during online registration. It’s all a fallacy! So here comes the reason why you need to have some white shorts and polo handy and also a white tennis shoe. The ones you just received will be fixed sometime the next day, so don’t sweat it. Better still, look for someone around to swap items with, you just might get lucky.
However, if you happen to be unlucky, ready your pocket for the exorbitant camp prices which range from 1000 Naira to 2,500 Naira to slim fit just your Khaki and jacket. The white polo and Nysc polo will go for 300 Naira each or maybe 400 Naira. No need pricing, that’s the standard price (rolling my eyes btw). Now if perchance, your boots do not fit and you need to go to the cobbler at mami market, just sha hold your 2000 Naira. I don’t know how much most camp paid but at Delta state, that was the standard price, no haggling. I’m pretty sure other camps paid as high as I stated.
When you get your kit, you are required to dress up and start parade immediately. However, if you are somewhat like me, you may just stall around, refuse to wear your kits which you will properly hide in your bag and claim that you haven’t finished registration. Afterall, the queue is maddening.
Now usually, after you have done all the above, you are required to fill in what they call the ‘Book of Life’. Please do not forget to fill it, some people did and started filling a day before we left camp which I though quite stressful. You will also be asked to open a new account for your Nysc allawee. If you like have an account in the bank before, you will still open another one. For opening the account, you will need your call-up/posting letter, your school Identity card and a passport photo.
Now let me just take the pain to remember where we were required to submit passports:
1) During official registration- we used 2 copies
2) When opening Nysc bank account – 1 copy
3) When filling the form for your platoon file – 2 copies
4) At the 2nd week of camp, for Assessment form – 1 copy
5) For your church/fellowship registration & ID card (if you decide to recognise with them) – 2 copies
6) For your SAED classes – 1 copy
7) For your meal ticket – 1 copy
Now, I didn’t stay in camp for a long while because I had to leave for my call to the Nigerian bar but I was able to get quite a few tidbits of what camping was like, which I’ll share. Morning exercise usually starts at 4:30am and the biggle (which is quite a loud trumpet) will wake you up. You will hear comments like ‘mumu corper’, ‘white fowl’, ‘small otondo’, just laugh it off if necessary. You will be chased by both male and female soldiers asking you to obey the clarion call, if you happen to be sluggish, you will receive a downpour of cold tea (i.e dirty water mixed with sand). The morning exercise will last till 6:45am after which platoon parade will begin. The parade will last till 7:40am and then the ‘biggle’ will blow again for morning food. You have to use your meal ticket to get access to the food. I can’t talk much about the food because I ate in camp kitchen just twice but I’m pretty sure we all know the quality is bad and the quantity not desirable! Sha manage eet if you have no money to spare, recession is still very much in the air.
Lectures begins at 9:00am, so be there on time to get good seats, else you will just stand. But you can be like me and hide in the hostel or find an opening in the ceiling and stay up there, till you are sure there are no roaming eyes looking for you. If you can’t be like me, biko, just come out and try to act interested in the lecture. Some were interesting though, others were just annoying. I attended just 4 lectures, so there. I was just a stranger to Nysc, trust me, I disliked every minute in camp. After lectures, you will go for SAED classes. SAED stands for Skills Acquisition & Empowerment Development classes. There are many classes, so find which you can fit in. I tried to fit in and it took me 4days to find a proper class. I ended up joining filming & Photography for just 3days because obviously, by the time I came back, all classes had progressed far. SAED classes end by 2:00pm and then lunch. Parade starts again by 4:00pm till 6:00pm, alongside other camp activities done on the field and then Nigeria goes to sleep. When you get to camp, you will find them out, the other activities I mean.
If you don’t want the stress of having to parade and March your legs out, you can consider joining OBS (Orientation broadcasting services), Red-cross, Reps (they acted as labour prefects sha and I think it was stressful but the soldiers will only nominate the fat, big and hefty people for that position), the female volleyball team (they always had practice though), the gate warders (they manned the guard room and had shifts) or martial arts. Or you can be like me, bring a sexy first aid kit from home containing bandages, iodine, spirit and plaster. Before morning, plaster your foot and ankle so that you don’t end up wearing the annoying shoe and then at noon, so that you can have an excuse not to come out or go to the sick bay for bed rest and have fun pressing your phone. If the bandage idea doesn’t work for you, you can hide under your bed for as long as you can OR when you see the soldiers coming to chase you guys, just carry your pee-bucket and act like you are purging and run as fast as you can to the area reserved for toileting…izz a joke oo, Abeg serve your fatherland biko.
Please note carefully :
1) There is hardly water in camp. Try to fetch as much as you can and always know when the tap runs, to avoid no water stress.
2) Have a lot of cash handy. There are no ATM’s in camp, well except for Lagos, Delta and Abuja. Besides, the queue is just not worth the stress biko.
3) You may need to launder your items at mami market for the cost of 50 Naira per clothing. Don’t try washing, it may get stolen EXCEPT you are sure that you have time to look after it.
4) Mami market provides palm wine and good beer but be careful of palm wine mixed with weeds and tramadol/Rochy. Some are disguised in the body of stout mixed with palmy, and you may hardly notice. Mami market Fayrouz also is not trusted, some may have been tampered with.
5) There will be a time when condoms will be given. Please do not use it while in camp. You can use immediately after camp, if the need badly arises. Remember, what camp has joined together, posting will destroy!
6) Guys, steer clear of married and engaged ladies. A boy ran haywire because he slept with a girl already betrothed. Ehn ehn, me I haff said my own.
Okay guys, good luck and stay safe while in camp. It’s just three weeks of forced manual labour but I’m sure you will all be okay. Cheers!
Feel free to ask questions if you see that I haven’t talked on some aspects.