Opeyemi Durowaiye shares her NYSC camp story with us and we hope you all learn from her interesting experience as a corp member especially the 2016 Batch B Stream 1 corp members who will be going to camp very soon.
First, I must say DO NOT take 30 passports or make 20 photocopies….. Please* DO NOT!
*and so I begin.
Greetings everyone – especially prospective corps members. I was in your shoes in April, getting ready for camp and all; oh, and to serve my country #important. I was disappointed on two counts though; first I didn’t get posted to the East as I wanted-yeah, you heard right. I wasn’t interested in getting posted to Lagos or its environs and I still got Ogun state but the experience has been good! Then secondly, I had to go in the second stream- and to think I had my bags ready for camp since April 28th! (Don’t judge me!). But camping later afforded me good advice from my friends who went ahead, and a bit of travel.
Why this checklist? Before camp, trust me, I checked out blogs and articles about orientation camp and all. They all made sense oh- kudos to all ex-corps members who shared their experiences. My checklist is basically updating what previous articles have pointed out and adding a few things.
Pre-Camp: Basically registration and general camp shopping/packing.
Registration: It’s easier to do this in a cafe. Well, if you have a scanner and fingerprint reader at home, then you can do it yourself. It’s really a follow-the-steps process (that sounds redundant). The signature part kept giving problems even till the time to print call up letters. You could just sign on a piece of paper, take the picture, shrink it to the appropriate size then upload; or sign on an app (I used Autodesk Sketchbook), export the image, resize and upload. Both give the same result. For registration on camp, just take 8 passport photographs, 5 copies of your documents, your call-up letter, and your green slip. You won’t use up all the copies but just to be safe. The registration process is mostly digital now so we don’t need as many photocopies or passports.
Camp shopping: At this point, I’ll mention that NYSC provides the basics- 2 sets of whites (shorts and shirt), Ajuwaya-I don’t know why it’s called that (khaki trousers, jacket, boots, cap, crested vest, belt), tennis shoes and socks. And I’ll also have to say I was impressed with the quality of my kit items. Everyone said the kit items were always terrible but I think the quality my batch got was good #kudos. Other things you may need to get:
Camp whites (shorts and shirts): You can pick your perfect fit and style; and number. Initially I got 6 but ended up returning 2.
Socks: just extras
·Rubber tennis shoes: RUBBER cannot be overemphasised. Except you like over washing ohh, please jejely* carry rubber shoes. For the first few days in camp, it raineeeeddddddd. I was grateful for the rubber shoes advice- over grateful sef. You can just wipe it and it’s ready to wear again! I think “leather” has the same effect.
Meds: Your personal first aid kit complete with anti-malarias, multivitamins, pain relievers, antacids, antibiotics, and any important meds you know you take. There’s a camp clinic but it might not have your specifics.
Mufti: Just in case you are allowed. It was forbidden on my camp.
Camp packing: A friend advised me, “Don’t pack for Africa ‘cos you’ll carry your box on your head.” Important stuff to note: Glass bottles- groundnut, perfumes, deodorant; metal cutlery, and knives are not allowed on camp, (Use plastics for your snacks). I didn’t make the rules. You might want to line your suitcase with nylon. I wish I had done that because it rained so heavily on my first day that I was still drying stuff 3 days later. Buckets can be gotten on camp but what you see is what you get. You can also decide to get a keg- it’s easier to carry.
Money: You get #2,500 within the first 2 weeks of camp. You’ll definitely need more money if you plan to always eat in mammy. Just know thyself and plan appropriately. The cheapest meal I had on camp was #150; you eat according to your taste and pocket. Some camps have ATMs, mine did. So I called home when I ran out of cash.
I can’t really say whether you should get to camp early or not because I did and I regretted it- I was drenched in the rain and I “dried” before I got into the hostel *talk about in the sun, in the rain. So just be led and trust that whatever happens to you is for the best.
Major Camp Advice – have fun, enjoy yourself but don’t do anything you are not fine with. On camp is where you really know that Nigeria is diverse. I had never seen so many cultures before in my life; I heard of a million and one schools in Nigeria; you can try a thousand and one foods-mammy has them all. Try to meet new people. If I had been in stream 1, I probably won’t have met as many people as I did because I love my comfort zone baje. A good place to start is joining camp groups. I was in OBS #shoutout. That was a meeting-people zone for me. I also played volleyball for the first time and my platoon was 3rd. #platoon6. There’s Red Cross, Maintenance, Sanitation, Lecture…..the list keeps increasing as things come up. Learn a skill. There were so many people in mammy training people on beads making, gele tying, I think it was majorly those two. But try to learn something. I didn’t do anything outside the regular skills acquisition (was too busy with OBS, no regrets) but I know people who did and they were glad they did. Be active in camp. Whether you like it or not, you are there for 3weeks so make the most of it. Don’t go about moaning, do something useful.
Hmmmm…..this one was another story entirely. I didn’t see any article that talked about post camp but my post camp wasn’t funny at all oh! It was too sharp a push into the real world. Forget oh, camp was chilling for me- post camp was…. can’t find the adjective. Just make sure you don’t spend all your first alawi* on camp. Remember real life awaits. Don’t be scared oh, I went through a lot of wahala* because my initial PPA rejected my services. The experience that followed was not funny at all. In summary, I planned to leave Ogun State the Monday camp closed after reporting in my PPA and I didn’t end up leaving till the next week, or was it the Friday? I can’t even remember. The rejection issue was quite rampant in my Local Government, maybe because there were 2 streams or it’s a state capital and a lot of people got posted there – I don’t know; but it wasn’t a funny experience. I guess as jjcs* we were all just worried because everything worked out fine, eventually; not without divine favour though. Irony of life, we want something then when we finally get it, we start complaining. #countyourblessings. Let me just drop this in, having your services rejected is not the end of the world. Don’t just settle for anywhere because you might be complaining 2 months into it. I know I went somewhere and then the boss there asked if I won’t mind working for free. I kindly declined oh because I’m not so inclined. I know people that won’t mind, but I did.
The ending….So that’s about it. My camp story is much longer but it was fun for me; and no, I’m not a “crazy” type person. Just enjoy yourself on camp. And never forget the child of whom you are!
P.S Remember that the alawi you get on camp is meant to last you through the next month; so spend wisely.