So I Recently went to the NYSC camp in Lagos to collect my call up letter. Being the elite chick that I am I was more than confident that I would be deployed to camp and service in Lagos. My aunt and uncle had done loads of work behind the scenes calling on multiple favors to make sure that I was deployed to Lagos, since being the overly naive and seriously bewildered foreign student that I am, God knows how I would survive in some random bush where they’d be cursing me in all the languages that I don’t understand and I’d have no choice but to eat all the foods that I don’t recognize :s
Anyhoo I strolled into the camp with my head held high, without a care in the world, just determined to get my call-up letter and go. But if there’s one thing that I have learnt from Nigeria it’s that NOTHING is simple and EVERYTHING is unpredictable, even if it’s the straightforward act of borrowing a book from the library; trust that the scanning machines would be out of order, all of the staff missing in action or maybe your card would be invalid because someone else had forged your identity or hacked into your account. Only god knows with Nigeria! So I get to the front of the queue, and the guy reluctantly searches for my letter among the pile, looking at me with a burning look of content because he was finally made to do the job. When he found it I compliantly showed him some identification (My Nigerian passport and a photocopy of my UK) but dude wasn’t satisfied, started making a big fuss about how he needed to see my original UK passport. For what?! so that he could steal my identity and smuggle one of his daughters into the UK as a replacement??? Errrrrr NO. He even had the nerve to tell me to go home and come back another day! Can you imagine? when all of the identification that he actually needed was at his fingertips. Obviously dude just felt like he could abuse the little power that he had, but after many minutes of persuasion by another member of staff (a family contact) he complied.
So I quickly scrutinised the general details and as UNEXPECTED I wasn’t posted to Lagos, but instead I had been deployed to Ekiti – some random village like 3hrs drive from Lagos. At that very moment a torrent of hysterical laughter left my lips “HAHAHAHAHAHAHA Ekiti who?, what?, where?”. At first I just thought it was a huge grammatical mistake, but then I figured no one could be that stupid to misspell Lagos this badly, so then I settled on the simple fact. Naija had messed up again. How can a girl fresh from the UK be thrown into some random village, when Lagos, a more developed part of Nigeria is still so foreign to me. Rather than be upset and stress over how horrid life would be for me in this jungle, I made a decision. Either I was going to serve in Lagos, in the company that I had planned to from the get-go or I wasn’t going to serve at all. I would simply go back to the UK and it would be Naija’s loss.
Luckily for me my family shared exactly the same opinion, so ultimately they worked ridiculously hard to have me redeployed to Lagos, and we even had to fly to the NYSC HQ’s in Abuja. When I think about how much money this whole NYSC thing has cost my family I get sooo pissed off, hundreds of thousands of naira and thousands of pounds wasted and for what? is this scheme even really worth it? Well I guess I’ve got this far so there’s no point in turning back now. At least I have a few influential people that can work in my favour, unfortunately not everyone is so fortunate. When we arrived at Abuja NYSC HQ we were bombarded by a mob of aggressive, impatient and highly frustrated people, all of which I’m assuming were corpers trying to have their places of deployment changed. The scene was actually quite funny; loadsa peeps pushing and screaming in anger as soldiers held them back with large wooden sticks and violent threats. My uncle arrived all suited and booted in his military gear and calmly strolled past the guards with me at hand, all under the hateful eyes of the frustrated onlookers. Upstairs I got talking to a few girls: one of them appeared highly anxious and from her story she was right to be so; she explained that she had been posted to Borno (a northern state in Naija) and wanted to have her self redeployed to PH, it seems that in Borno a terrorist crew called the Boko Haram had been reeking havoc, bombing several places and killing lots of innocent civilians. I felt really bad for her as she worriedly explained this all to me, yet I couldn’t help but question why any corpers had been posted to such a place in the first place, why would the government send their youths to areas where they were evidently in danger? That’s one thing about Naija that confuses me. There are sooo many intelligent people yet why do few actually use their common sense? Anyway my uncle expertly had me redeployed and we left swiftly. I just pray that God assisted that poor girl with her plea.
Oh yeah, and another random yet kinda interesting thing that I’ve noticed in Naija; many of the girls like to go 100% natural, as in they don’t shave their legs. I guess this can be a positive thing because it shows that they aren’t conforming to all of the trends of westernised society and the view that women need to look perfect, but not all of us are lucky enough to be virtually hairless so for those who unfortunately resemble Sasquatch, shave your legs!!! if you don’t then what distinguishes you from an ape?!
Anyhoo when I next talk to you I would have finished camp. I’m kinda scared for multiple reasons: some Nigerians tend to have really bad B.O and I really don’t fancy passing out from the skank odor of loads of peeps sweating after hours of strenuous drills EWWWW, I hear in camp that a lot of people steal, some even resort to cutting bags open with the blade HELP :s, plus I really don’t fancy being lead away by someone I consider my friend then cut up for rituals. Only God can save me now. Wish me luck!!! 🙂