MORE FROM NYSC CAMP (IPAJA)!!!

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Hi people!
Camp has been great. I have learned to embrace the fact that this is Naija. So I’ve cast away what I now know to be ridiculous expectations such as believing customer service representatives should be polite, professional and friendly. Or even expecting events to start and end as publicised or that soldiers should speak to you and not scream at you.

On to the business of the day. I have been asked to give an indepth analysis of the foreign versus naija beef I observed. Well, here goes…

Camp, I have learned to appreciate, is new to all not just me who practically went from Jand to the Jungle. I slept only one night on my bed before being shipped off to the camp. Well, the truth is this: this kind of life is strange to everyone/ most people and we are all trying to adapt. This is what Nigerian-trained students (henceforth NTS/Naijas) just don’t get with their Foreign-trained counterparts (henceforth, FTS/Foreigners). The average FTS struggled badly to adapt, some are still struggling as I type whilst most go on with the air of ‘if not because I need to do this in order to work in this country, there is absolutely no way I’d be caught dead here’!

In addition, a lot of FTS have given up on the orientation part of the NYSC scheme and have gone home already. NTS on the other hand, seem to be lapping it all up. They sing in the bathroom whilst FTS practically rush in and rush out whilst saying a quick prayer to the heavenlies that nothing should touch their skins. Naijas would happily sit down applying making up and taking all those back to back, Charlie’s Angels type of photographs. The average foreigner would consider that ‘razz’ no matter how badly they’d like to join in on their insides. Most foreign people act like they just CANNOT be bothered and are barely counting down the days till the prison doors would be opened.
As much as FTS I know would like to shower 5 times a day, most just do it twice and usually carefully calculate the timing to be when there would not be much of a crowd or when the bathroom has just been freshly cleaned. Hence, you might not see them going to the shower much. One FTS was actually asked by her roommate when caught bathing, ‘so you baff? I thought because you have been abroad you don’t baff because all those white people don’t baff’. *speechless*
Most FTS do not eat the freely provided food and would rather eat at Mammy Market. The average foreigner has no idea where his meal ticket is presently and possibly only discovered the location of the kitchen in Week 2. FTS also have this gift of smelling eachother from a distance and roll together. They hardly mix. Trust me!


In addition to all these, a bit of institutional preference/discrimination takes place. Let me expatiate. When it was time to write our names in The Book of Life, foreign students on exeat had a separate procedure and did not have to queue in the hot discomfort that Lagos sun brings. This riled the Naija people so badly as they wondered aloud, ‘why can’t they queue? Whats so special about them? Are they not corpers?’ The Platoon Coordinator kinda rubbed it in by asking them, ‘don’t you know they are international students?’ I felt bad for them. And at that point, any friend you had made in the Naija crew automatically felt hurt when you stood up to jump the queue. It was like a betrayal took place. I didn’t queue. The sun was scorching. Sorry.

Most FTS act ‘pepperless’. They usually don’t join in activities much. Instead, band up together and have a moan. Exeats are dished out to them a bit more easily because they are almost ‘pitied’ for even trying since many many more simply registered and left. So those that actually stay on have ‘tried’.

Awon FTS kan manbi emi gan ninu. So much fake accent in the air, it is almost palpable. Someone who studied in Yankee having a Jand accent and vice versa. The worst kinds are the hybrids who switch to suit theirmoods. Since most NTS cannot tell the difference, fone is fone and they get so irritated.

Most FTS do not wear any NYSC gear except for the compulsory ones. Instead, they rock their Primark and Walmart stuff. They gather together and gist about Jand and Yankee hence, automatically alienating non-FTS participants. NTS on the other hand, tend to have a bit of inferiority complex. They feel they are being made out to seem inferior and they go all out to prove that they are not and that corper na corper.
So which one am I? Well, I tend to mix with all and sundry-the over fone speaking Claire plus Ikemefuna from rural Anambra. I try to find something to engage people in conversation on. Sometimes it works, other times, it looks like you are being patronising so na to move on be dat!
NCCF has been uber amazing! It stands for the Nigerian Christian Fellowship. Its where we hang out and worship from 6-8 everyday. I had Man o’War drills last week. It was fun though I still hurt all over as a consequence. A few corpers’ trousers ripped in the process. I lolled. Here are the pictures.

Thats all civilians (for now)

Temiville.xoxo

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NYSC Ipaja Camp

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***WARNING: HURRIEDLY TYPED BLOG POST***

This is NYSC Day 10.

I miss blogging. I miss you guys so much. Naija is fine. I’m enjoying it and I thank God for the experience.

If Abuja was dramatic, then Ipaja is in a league of its own. Trust me. This place is like a mini jungle!!! The great side to the story is that you meet loads and loads of amazing people, you network and you all have a moan together about the living condition ie, being thirty in a room, the horrible bathroom and the fact that most of us did not do ‘the deed’ for over 6 days!!! Yes o! You best believe that.

I have noticed a bit of foreign trained versus Nigeria-trained corps members’ ‘beef’  going on. There is a bit of discrimination because they believe foreign trained graduates are fake, thick and generally, suegbes/otondos. On the very first day, there was a foreign/naija fight. Naija won sha because foreign packed her things and left the camp the next day.

The male camp soldiers are amazing. The women… I reserve my comments. If you like, wee on your body, by 4:30 am you are up and out on the parade ground! Those women are merciless. I developed rashes so I left for home for 3 days but now I’m back on the camp. When you leave camp, you appreciate everything much more so being in camp has its good sides. You are more grateful for every little benefit.

NOTE: Everyone wants to toast you on camp. So please be careful when you do your NYSC. Don’t agree to any camp relationship as most of them are at best, bored and want to while away time and at worst, users looking for a fling. If he really cares, he’ll still care after camp.

A number of people have been wondering what you pack to camp…Well here is my list:

White shorts and shirts
No mufti
Handkerchief/hand towel (trust me, you shall drip sweat)
Sneakers (white from, Primark)
Towel
Bedsheets
Toileteries
Waist pouch (I got from my girl, Dami)
Dettol (which poured away on the first day)
Underwear
Sleep clothes
Slippers
Padlocks
Toilet paper
Socks
Bucket and small bowl

As for the admin bit:

3 Photocopies of Statement of Result and certificates

2 copies of International Passport data page

8 copies of passport photo

A Pen
Stapler with your own pins (if you forget this, it is 10 naira per pin)
glue

Be very prayerful on camp and soak all your property in the Blood of Jesus. Don’t charge your phone in your friend’s room. Just pay 50 naira and charge in Mammy market. There are thieves EVERYWHERE!!!

Here are some pictures:

in My full regalia (I so much needed that red bull)

Martial Arts baby!!!

 

my white sneakers

my jungle boots

That’s all people (for now)

Temiville.xoxo

DRAMA!!!

25 Comments

Friday the 4th of March

Wow!!! It is Day 2 in Naij and all I can say is Thank You LORD. Things have gone quite well so far. I also thank my mom who wisely advised that I take with me at least one extra top just in case I had to spend a night in Abuja. I honestly thought I was gonna get my registration all sorted right there and then (yesterday) but mehn, nothing could have prepared me for the shocker I received at the office. It is Friday morning and I’m still in Abuja. I still have not registered.

NYSC

Without mincing words with me, I was told there was no way I could register for NYSC so late. Registration ended on the 25th of February and there is no way they would break the rule for me. As soon as I heard that, I wanted to start weeping. I think I actually shed a tear or two. This was not just one small omo boy speaking. This was a whole director telling me there is no way forward and I have to register for the July set batch. As a woman of faith, I kept praying, speaking in tongues and reminding God that this is not the deal He and I struck before I left England. I was sent on some arodan trip within the NYSC office, from 1st floor to 5th floor, to 3rd floor and back to 1st floor and guess what?…They have no lift/elevator!!! I must have lost a bit of weight because my skinny jeans are not so skinny anymore.

I started praying, making calls frantically, begging my parents to call everyone they knew to help me. Eventually, God raised help and I was allowed to register due to my special extenuating circumstances. SIDENOTE: I’m so impressed with Nigeria and the fact that they stuck to the rules though it almost affected me adversely.

Anyways, in glee, I rushed off to Hajia’s office to register. She asked me in her cute Hausa accent, ‘do you have all your documents?’. ‘Yes ma’, I responded, excitedly bending my knees in respect, eager to show her that though I have been in England for so long, I have not lost my good upbringing and hoping that would score me a brownie point with her.

‘Passport?’, I gave her. ‘SCCE certificate?’, I handed it over. I even gave her my NECO as jara. ‘First degree certificate?’, I passed it over. ‘First degree transcript?’ Shoot!!! I had forgotten it in my luggage in Lagos. My face said it all. Instantly, she said, ‘There is no way I’m going to register you without your transcript!’. OMD!!! What to do? After coming this far only to get turned away because of transcript!!!

I quickly sent a text to my mom (by the way: communication is not beans in this country ooo!!! I can’t tell you how much I have spent on credit. So what I do now is send BB messages, text or flash. I only call if the situation is CRITICAL. I’ll soon readjust). My mom searched for my transcript and found it and got it scanned to my email. By the time I had it printed at Nwachukwu House, it was already 4pm. If you know anything about the civil service here in Nigeria, it is that they close on the dot of 4. I rushed over to Yakubu Gowon House and almost got knocked over by a cab. To my utter dismay, Hajia was gone and had locked her office!!! So that is how Thursday ended. The good thing is that I now know I will be registered. I just hope they do not insist on my original transcript today.

10:00 am Friday (NYSC Office)

The department in charge is yet to open…

10:30 am

I’m beginning to bite my nails.

11.00 am

There she is!

***

Ok, I got registered and I’m so thankful to God. The not so exciting news is that I have been asked to come back on Monday for my Call up letter! It does not make sense on any level for me to go to Lagos and fly back to Abuja so I’m going to stay at another family friend’s in Abuja because my uncle’s family had to travel. Abuja is deadish for me because I don’t really know people here. Plus, wearing the same clothes for 2 days does not really encourage you to go out.

I’m at family friend’s at Apo Quarters. I got the key off her at her office then we drove her to the airport because she was to spend the weekend in Lagos. The driver dropped me at home and showed me how to use everything. On our way to the house I asked to be taken to where I can buy food. He then took me to one local-ish looking place in the quarters. I had a good mind of saying ‘let’s go back’ but something just told me to keep walking in. They didn’t display prices but I was willing to spend up to 700-1k max because I wanted a treat and given the semi-localness of the place, I thought the food will be max 500 naira. So I asked for jollof rice, 2 pieces of beef, dodo and 1 snail (yes I know I’m a long throat, lol). They dished the food in a take-away pack, did the sum total and to my utter dismay, it came to 2,170 naira. I was in a state of shock. What the heck?! People were behind me so I had to compose myself, bring out the money and sharply leave with my food. The food was good sha so it was a bit of a consolation.

So that’s how Friday has been. This is hoping the weekend will be better…

…to be continued

 

Temiville.xoxo

The homegoing…

8 Comments

Thursday the 3rd of March

Hmm, I know I have been a quiet little birdy all this while but it was because something was brewing…something huge!!! Wait for it… I returned to Nigeria after almost 5 years today!!! Yes, I did it…

'Im coming home'

When the thought of going back started playing around my head, I got a lot of weird looks from people and even a few actual queries like, ‘Temi, do you know what you are doing?’ Have you prayed? Are you sure it is God and not just you being homesick? Why not pray harder, apply for jobs harder?’ But I knew without an iota of doubt that it was time to return home. It was not about being homesick or because job opportunities were not forthcoming, no. There was something bigger, deeper, more profound. There was this heavy sense of ‘The time is now’. No more ‘the time is nigh’.

This feeling was so deeply rooted in me that no amount of drama I have experienced in the past day have managed to shake my sureness. The drama started from Heathrow o. I looked like a refugee with all my stuff and I paid dearly for it. Thank God for the help He raised in carrying my luggage. I probably would have missed my flight if not because of the help I received. I was so stressed. The flight itself was okay. Nothing to report aside of the usual rowdy people who wanted to run out whilst the plane was still taxiing.

We got to the airport and the heat that welcome me does not have part 2. I almost went dizzy. One of my boxes was the very last to arrive so you can imagine the wait. The porters charged me 45o naira for both trolley and their service (they later asked for ‘appreciation money’ which I declined with a sweet smile. Why do I have to pay you for doing a job I have paid you for???’). A good Indian-Samiritan paid for it for me (thanks love).

After all the drama of searching through my luggage at customs, I was finally re-united with my mom and brother who were waiting for me. It was off to the local airport and straight to Abuja (I slept like a baby through that flight). If I thought Las Gidi heat was crazy, the one in Abuja is pure insanity. Now, I understand the logic behind the stench in public places. Side Note: Always have your Sure in your handbag so as not to contribute to the situation.

The drama in Abuja deserves a post all by itself, I tell you. I am just rushing to use the internet at my uncle’s office in Maitama.PS:  I still have not seen my dad in almost 5 years despite being back. I am off to hustle at the NYSC office in Maitama just opposite where I am now. It is quite a lovely building. The one I’m in now is the NUC building,  ‘AJA NWACHUKWU HOUSE’ whilst the NYSC one is called, ‘YAKUBU GOWON HOUSE’. Abuja is a really pretty city. People say it is the closest to Jand you get in Naij. I think it is more like Yankee with the houses and wide roads.

NUC Building

Let me rush off to see Hajia in the NYSC office. I hope this all gets sorted today.

To be continued…