MY NYSC EXPERIENCE
…in Adamawa, Yola
So after 18 months of delay, my guys & I were finally cleared to serve our Fatherland. Excited to get that phase over & done with, I did everything necessary to prepare for when my call-up letter would come.
The letter came, & nothing prepared me for what was in it; “congratulations on your deployment to Adamawa, Yola…” wtf? How? Why? Adamawa?? I’ve never been anywhere near the north before, how would I cope? So many thoughts were running through my mind at that moment. But then at the end of the day, I have no choice. I better pack my bags to leave for Adamawa in 3 days & prep myself to be there for 3 weeks.
Travel Day (Friday, 12/3/2021)
I traveled from Lagos to Adamawa on what would be my first flight. The journey took about 4–5 hours. By road, it would’ve been 36–38 hours phewww.
I was internally freaking out even before I arrived the airport. That disappeared when I stepped in the plane though. The ride was relatively calm, I was so chill it was like I’d done this times before. The only slightly rough part of the flight was during ascent where I felt like I was falling. But then that was it, everything else was smooth.
The flight took off 3: 25pm & arrived Adamawa 7:00pm. I made my way to the camp site alongside some friends I made at the airport. This took about 25–30 mins.
On Arrival at Damare Camp, Adamawa
My thought was that since we were arriving camp late at night, the registrations & all would be postponed till the next day & we’d just be let in our rooms. Haha. Covid-19 testing, bag searching, the whole pre-entry reg. still happened that same night. I was done by 11pm & finally landed on my assigned bed by 11:30.
It has begun! Saturday, yes, but there’s no such thing as weekends on camp. Apparently, Sunday is the only day you can sleep past 5am. So today, I am up & about by 4am. Haven’t completed my registration so I’m allowed to skip the early morning parade. Doesn’t mean that I’m free though, the registration & kit collection took about 5 hours, I’m not even exaggerating. It was a tedious process that when we were asked to make comments, I wrote; “I’m tired & hungry” because that was exactly how I was feeling.
Had a 30 mins break before it was time for the evening parade which took 3hours under the scorching Adamawa sun. At the end of it all, I was spent & already looking forward to leaving camp at the end of the month.
PS: I was placed in Platoon 10
Sunday. The only day you are not woken up by the annoying sound of the morning horn. Camp activities do not begin until 4pm so you had ample time to yourself until then.
I joined the Red Cross today, partly because I wanted to be a part of an NGO, & also because I heard you could avoid some camp activities once you were in *wink wink*. We’ll see how that goes.
You already know how it is, everywhere’s active by 4am. It’s Swearing In Day today so there was extra razzmatazz on the parade ground. By the end of the day we were now Corp Members & no longer Prospective Corp Members. Whoop whoop!
Let me 1st tell you about how Adamawa’s weather has been so far.
It. Is. Hot.
The sun is up as early as 5:30am, you look around by 6am & everywhere’s already bright. Like what’s the rush? And it’s not just the sun, the wind is also hot. There’s no cool breeze except at midnight & early in the morning.
So I told you I joined the Red Cross bah? To avoid activities? Lol where’s my clown outfit. I’m still very much involved, if not even more because I have to join the parade & I still tend to people who were tired or needed one thing or the other. At a point I just closed my ears to any “Red Cross please come” because I’m human too & I won’t let you kill me.
Platoon 10’s turn for Man O’ War drills came & I participated in the exercises. Well, most of it.
Dressed in my 7/7 (as they call the overall khaki outfit from top to bottom); I did the crawling in the tunnel, swung on a rope like Tarzan, climbed & overturned on a thick net, walked on a suspended 3-piece rope, & so on. It was one interesting activity, I’m glad I did the ones I did
SAED (Skills Acquisition & Entrepreneurship Development) lectures have begun. There’s different departments to join; Catering, Photography, Solar Energy, Education, Hair making, Makeup, etc. I didn’t think twice before joining the Education department. Does this mean I want to teach in a school? No. But I want to up my training & communication skills, learn something I could actually make use of after NYSC. So yea, I joined Education & it turned out to be an engaging & valuable 4-day activity & I didn’t have to spend a dime on extra expenses. Yay that.
Platoon 10 won their qualifying football & volleyball match so that was a cause for celebration. Eyes on the prize people.
“Are you finding camp fun yet” Not really. I still cannot wait to leave this place, the early morning drills, the long & boring midday lectures, the sunny evening parades, the heat, I cannot wait to leave.
Extra-curricular activities are going strong; Mr. Macho, Miss Big Bold & Beautiful, Dance & Drama, Cultural night, Mr. & Miss NYSC, etc.
“Am I participating in any one of them?” Oh no. hahaha no thank you. See apart from the activities that were compulsory for me to be in, like the regular parades & some Red Cross stuff, I’m not interested in doing anything more.
“Why?” I’m simply uninterested in stressing myself any further.
“But they could be fun” sure they could be but that fun comes at a price; rehearsals, extra time practicing, forced socializing, etc. Thanks, but I’m fine being a social recluse.
I’m a wonderful cheerleader for my team though. That part I take seriously. Find me in front of the volleyball court or field or seat cheering my members. And we won most of the camp activities too; 1st place Mr. NYSC, 2nd place Miss NYSC, won the volleyball cup, dance competition, came 3rd in Football & even won the overall parade competition & walked away with the golden cup! I’m such a happy cheerleader.
Another interesting part of the week was when Platoon 10 was assigned to the kitchen for the day. That meant no early & late parades (call me lazy idc) just kitchen stuff for the most part of the day.
PS: let me just say, cooking in bulk is scary. The amount & size of stuff you have to put in place, the big coolers to be washed, the number of fishes to be cleaned, scary. Thank God we were many & there was music so it was relatively fast & fun.
Carnival day is here & the only fun part was getting ready with my roommates & then taking pictures. The actual carnival though wasn’t…it wasn’t anything interesting. I mean we didn’t have to be under Adamawa sun for hours before the proceedings began. There was no refreshments or drinks or any form of entertainment made available. Honestly, I couldn’t wait for it to be over.
The rest of the days passed by normally...
Tomorrow’s the last day of camp so that’s something to look forward to.
It’s the final day of camp!! The day most of the corp members (if not all) have been looking forward to since the beginning of it. Everyone was all smiles & hugs & bags & goodbyes, it was an emotional scene but then it was time for everyone to find their next destination. Wasn’t it just yesterday when we arrived as ‘otondo’ corpers? & now it was time to leave. Time does fly & boy am I glad.
Least & Most Favorite Parts of Adamawa NYSC Camp
The part of camp I least enjoyed was the unnecessary night activities. I mean it’s been a long day for everyone, why do I still need to come out dressed in my white on white at 8pm at night to ‘socialize’? It would’ve been a bit bearable if there were refreshments made available, you know, an incentive but there was nothing of the sort. Just talk. So excuse me if I’d rather be on my bed sleeping or watching a movie by 9pm.
That & the long (3–4hrs) & boring day lectures which served as nap time for 70% or the Corp members. These lectures were torturing.
The moment I enjoyed the most in camp apart from the getting-ready-for-carnival one was when Red Cross paid a visit to the IDP camp close by. The few hours spent with those kids were just precious. They were all so cheery & giddy there was no way it wouldn’t rub off on you. I’m just glad we were able to help them with the few stuff we had. Pray they are protected & they end up in better conditions than they are currently.
“So how would you rate your camp experience at Adamawa, Yola”
I’d rate it a 6/10. Definitely could be better & worse. But then I’m grateful for how it went. I met some beautiful people & I didn’t stress myself by doing more than I had to.
I wish though, that I had the opportunity to leave the camp & explore the city, meet indigenes, see the people, visit the market, etc. But it’s all good. At least I passed by & saw the River Benue.