By this time last year, I was waiting for the Nigerian Youth Corp Service to post me to a 'favorable' part of Nigeria for my one year of compulsory service to Nigeria. Favorable to me meant anywhere near home and fortunately, I got posted out of my comfort zone. I was really sad but it took some scolding from my elder brother for me to grab the oppurtunity and learn to live solo...no parents, no siblings, no Uncle, no Aunts...just me, myself and the new friends I'll make.
So I packed up the essentials and headed over to Ibadan to report at Iseyin Camp for the compulsory 3 weeks of paramilitary training. I remember the day I was leaving home with my stuff and my Dad was like; 'where are you taking all that to. Would you not be coming back home after camp?'. Yes, apart from the other things ex-corp members advised me to report with, I took a blanket, sweaters, socks, and books. I mean we can't walk ropes all day , can we?^_^
Anyways,I refused to leave anything but I felt really stupid pulling all my stuff into camp. As I struggled with my box (and another bag of provisions *shamefaced*), I noticed four soldiers laughing at my friend and I (my friend who also came in from Abuja, had a bigger box than mine). One of them called us and asked:' Otondo (white chicken), where una dey drag all that load to? Abi your camp na one month'. Well, I'm going to stay in Oyo state for 4 weeks before going back home, what do you think I was thinking? It was at that point that I looked around and noticed that most of the other Corpers packed light. Oh well, better to have my Kaya with me than to wish I had it.
Well into the first week, I was grateful that I didn't leave anything at home because Iseyin was cold. It rained a lot and my sweaters ,extra socks and shoes came in handy. Waking up as early as 3:00 am to have your bath with cold water and then proceed to run up and down in the cold with some Man o'war fellow yelling at you is no fun. Especially when you have very little body fat to spare.
To cut the story short, I finished camp successfully (with a cold) and got posted to a government parastatal where I spent the rest of my service year.
My days in Ibadan are almost up and while I appreciate the time given me by the Constitution to grow up and understand Naija better, I just want to go home! I miss my family, I miss my friends and I miss Abuja.
I've learnt a lot from this experience and there's still so much that I'll like to share with you but that will have to wait for another post. Till next time, Nigeria we hail thee!