The hostel didn’t look so bad after all but having stepped into my room which almost looked like a hall I stood to count how many bunks were there just to have an idea of how many people I’ll be stuck with for the three weeks ahead. 22 bunks meant 44 people ought to occupy that room; I looked around and decided what corner I was going to choose as I was trying to stay beside the window for ventilation. I picked a down bunk spot in the middle of the room close to an electric socket; I had heard stories that there are no charging spots in the hostel but this was going to prove them wrong. I was so sleepy and couldn’t think too much so I moved my stuff in, laid my bed, hung my mosquito net and went to shower in order to get in the mood for a long nap.
The heat I felt that day was an unusual one, the water that came out of the tap was extremely hot and seemed to cause more discomfort but I had no choice than to make do with it. I tried lying down to get some sleep as I didn’t sleep properly during the previous night’s journey but oh boy, I was steaming within me. At this point other ladies had started flooding the hostel; since sleep had departed from me I went ahead to make friends with my new roommates and at least just to be nice to them as the landlady of the room but this did not last for long after I found out that I had played my penalty into throwing. The angry sun was already staring at me from the two windows beside my bed. I was soaked by the sun and it dawned on me that there was no breeze in Dakingari only sun and more sun; however it was too late to get a better bed space as all down bunk beds had already been occupied so don’t ask me why I now look so black, I had my unfair share of Dakingari’s daily sun and guess what? The sockets in the room had all been disconnected and charging my phone at mami market was inevitable but the bitter news remains that your phone either gets spoilt or the charger never remains the same at the end of the three weeks trust me; let’s leave that story for another day.
I would not forget to gist you about my first night in camp; I thought I was not going to make it to the next morning. I had another shower wore a very light dress and tucked myself under my net; the weather was probably 70˚C that night. I did not fail to come along with my hand fan but each attempt to fan myself yielded only hot air, I thought I was the only one feeling this way until I heard my other roommates voice out. At this point my face was really hurting me and I guessed it was the chemical used in treating the mosquito net that was making me feel this way but I had to pick a struggle either I used the net or allowed mosquitoes to feast on me. I showered again but my condition got worse, I began to feel rashes on my face while it was itching and hurting at the same time. This was the point when I removed the net and decided to air it for the next three days before using it again, I didn’t want any disaster to befall my face and spoil my fine girl game in camp but for that night I used mosquito repellent cream which didn’t stop the giants of Nigeria from humming close to my ears.
I waited patiently for the night to come to an end but it seemed so long and each time I checked my phone it was still 2am so I decided to have a proper bath, get dressed like a white fowl and stay on my bed ready to fly out of my room immediately the soldiers call us out. Since it was officially the first morning in camp we heard the sound of what looked like a trumpet but we were told to call it the ‘beagle’.
It had an unmistakable strange sound which I was sure we were all stuck with for the next 3 weeks. We all ran to the front of the admin block as the camp director addressed us and told us how to go about our registration and I won’t lie to you, the struggle was real. I moved from being the first female on camp to being the 183rd person to get registered.
My state code identified me as a member of Platoon 3 so I went to get my NYSC kit from my platoon officer. The first thing I noticed was my over-sized jungle boots and tennis shoe. “Why on earth did we have to specify our clothes and shoe size on the portal when the NYSC coordinators don’t even care if our kit looks smart on us?” Those were the thoughts in my head. I was depressed and had to get a means of exchanging my size 10 jungle boots and size 7 tennis shoe to a size 5. Yes my leg is that small you don’t have to check it. Changing my tennis shoe was quite an easy task but no one around me seemed to need a size 10 shoe so like every other person in the hall, I began to announce, “Who has size 5 jungle boots and needs size 10?” I was depressed when no one came to my aid but my new friend Corper D gingered me to ask my platoon officer to help me as I could not possibly manage a size 10 shoe. He helped me change the shoe to a size 6 which was still bigger than my feet after about two hours of sitting and pleading with him but who am I to reject the boots at least it’s manageable.
The major advice I got before getting into camp was, “Stacy make sure you join Orientation Broadcasting Service (OBS) in camp and be very efficient there, in fact since you studied Mass Communication it would be very easy for you. OBS members are always posted to the capital city and are given a nice Place of Primary Assignment (PPA), if OBS is filled up make sure you join red cross or band, participate actively in your platoon and make friends with the soldiers and platoon officers”. As it is popularly said, talk is cheap. To all my unpaid special advisers and lesson teachers I really thank you for your words of encouragement; your reward is in heaven. I rushed to the OBS office with Corper W to be part of the OBS crew; we were thoroughly screened on two occasions but each time I went there to find out if there was anything I could do to help, I always met new faces like the OBS room was a mini-camp and we were usually carrying/packing chairs, washing canopy, mounting speakers and having meetings.
As a professional and certified broadcaster that I am I Japaa from OBS; my dear I didn’t come all the way to Kebbi State to just be carrying chairs around and be characterized among the crowd who joined OBS in order to get a good placement anyway that was why I registered but shhhhh don’t let them hear.
Since I was no longer the first female on camp as my state code had sold me out and I had escaped from being an OBS member, I had to look for another way to stay active on camp and enhance my chances of being posted to Birni Kebbi the state capital. Find out my next line of action in next week Friday’s edition of Diary of a Kebbi Corper.
Written by: StacySpeaks 2018.