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[Article] DIARY OF A CHRISTIAN CORPER: Camp Life & Its Realities

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… Continued from last week

As I was sizing him up, he called me. You don’t want to know what I ɗid… I pretended like I wasn’t the one he was calling, so I tapped Ramat and told her “that ‘Boda’ is calling you o”. “Ahh ahh isn’t too early to be called, it’s just the first day,” I thought. The ‘Boda’ kuku (eventually) came closer since Ramat didn’t answer me, he greeted us, and said: “be careful around here o, keep your things properly and mind the kind of friends you keep” as he fixed his gaze at me and Ramat. We smiled, thanked him and moved on before he could complete his request for my number. “He must have considered us to be teenagers who are just coming this far for the first time, this our kunkulu (tiny) stature ehnnn,” I thought to myself.

Ramat and I returned to the hostel to consume our food, but on our way, I observed that the camp environment wasn’t exactly as ‘fanimorus’ (attractive) as one would have expected. Walking around the camp was like ascending and descending a mountain with red soil all over. Torn nets everywhere… and since I’m not a mosquito net fan, I just had to be full of hope that mosquitoes won’t be disturbing me in my room. NYSC gifted me with 3 Igbo rummies Ngozi (my bunk-mate), Chinyere and Chinonye, I was at least expecting different tribes.

I’m not the typical gentle girl but this new environment humbled me seriously, my fellowship big brothers and sisters from home bombarded me an advice each at every given opportunity, telling me how people (especially girls) rubbish themselves on the camp ground and how some people tend to leave their faith. I’m not sure whether their words kept me in a shell or made me very careful but I didn’t forget them.

Myself and my new roommates didn’t talk much on the first day after introducing ourselves. The bugler played his bugle to notify us that it was time for the parade, and in my mind, I was wondering “already? oga o”. We all jogged out of the camp ground to the parade ground in threes, according to our platoons “if we continue like this for the next three weeks I’d lose weight o,” I kept wondering to myself. We didn’t do much on the parade ground, just introduction to marching skills with varieties of songs (some of which I was uncomfortable with as they sounded weird and maybe vulgar sha). We marched back to the camp ground as soon as we were done, took dinner and returned to our hostel.

“It’s night and we still haven’t heard from the mosquitoes,” I said in a low tone as I was (low key) thanking God. I laid in my bed to say my night prayers, reminding God and declaring that Enugu is taken for God all through my stay and beyond and that I was going to fulfill purpose there – I had been praying this prayer since the very first day. I closed my eyes to sleep and before I knew it, they were opened again. It’s 3:00am. Chai! This camp life no go funny oo, I love my sleep na. Ramat and I had agreed to wake up early so we could take our bathe and be ready in good time, we really didn’t want any clash with the soldiers. I personally didn’t have the strength for frog-jump in advance as we were already told the bulgar would play the wake up tune by 4:00am.
Meanwhile, have I mentioned there was no socket to charge our phones? That one shook me ooo! Anyways, I said a short prayer then went to take my bathe quietly as girls were still enjoying their sleep. I had never imagined anywhere in the east to be extraordinarily cold, Awgu was cold, abeg. Aaaargh! If only I could transfer some of the harmattan to my peeps in Lagos they’d have appreciated it. I came back, dressed up (in the long awaited white fowl attire…lol) and picked up my devotional and bible to observe my quiet time. At this point, quite a number of people were awake, bathing and dressing already. I was rounding off when a lady two rooms away from mine started the general Christian devotion “Sisters, it’s time for devotion, it’s a beautiful morning and so let’s begin to worship God..”

Omo, na so tongues follow o…



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