In case anyone ever plans on doing this Shameful, disgraceful, near-blasphemous excuse of a scheme called NYSC I figured I would give you the most detailed explanation of it that I could, so that you could make an informed decision about whether you want to put yourself through such suffering. Honestly, I cant say that I regret the decision because I know that in the future it will definitely benefit me, but at the same time being here is so frustrating that I often question whether I was in a sane state of mind when I made it. Okay, so basically NYSC consists of 3 weeks of orientation which takes place in a barely habitable camp, most likely resembling the conditions of a slum or possibly a concentration camp, thereafter you are forced to undergo 11 months of slave labour/extreme exploitation working for a company you’ve been posted to. Unfortunately not all are as elite as myself, failing to have the adequate contacts to manipulate their posting to a suitable company where they would actually be doing some sort of work that would prevent their brain cells from slowly decaying and wasting away. But even if you are posted to a good company it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presence would be valued and that your time would be spent carrying out tasks which could better your knowledge of anything in any way. Number 1 thing to remember; NYSC is a completely selfish scheme that is not made to benefit the fresh graduate desperate to soak in knowledge and gain work experience, or members of the community who could genuinely use a little help cleaning up the streets and educating the children, but in fact the organisations who get cheap labour and save money that goes into the pockets of the already illegally wealthy. Corpers are the lowest of the low, made to survive on a meagre allowance which can hardly pay for ones transport and feeding for the month. And yes the government has increased the allowance to 19,800NGN, however due to the subsidy removal the price of more or less everything has increased, plus the NYSC government rarely even pay people’s allowances regularly. I haven’t been paid since I started in December, and I have some friends that have been serving for around 8 months and haven’t been paid once. I’m thinking that they’re hoping we would get so fed up with the chaotic and nonsensical system that we wouldn’t be bothered to chase up the money, but these peeps obviously don’t know about me. MATE I’m too much of a stingy Ijebu kinda gal to let anyone, let alone the pot-bellied goats in the government chop my money. Even if it takes me bribing police to raid that place and collect my just dues. Life’s a hustle man, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. And what if the Corpers were actually surviving on that money? literally relying on it for the basic necessities. These people are so selfish they don’t even think about that, or should I say they just don’t care. Sadly it seems like many Nigerians have the attitude that they are doing you a favour doing their job, thus if you want something you better beg, wait and watch me take my time. If it gets done it gets done, but if it doesn’t well…. meh. CUSTOMER SERVICE OH CUSTOMER SERVICE WEITIN U DEY GO?
Now it’s time for me to give you the low down on CD. CD stands for community development, and is something you have to take part in every week till service finishes. The only reason I go is because you have to have at least 75% attendance or you don’t get your NYSC certificate at the end, or so I’ve been told. For me CD has been an experience and a half. First and foremost, do not be deceived by the name ‘community development’ in know way is your time spent enhancing the community in anyway. Initially I dreamt of partaking in fundraisers, building schools, educating and entertaining the young, but as soon as I arrived in Naija I knew that any chance of organised activity was out of the question. 1) because people just don’t care 2)because people just don’t care. After I realised that, I just joined any CD group that took place on Friday so that I could have a 3 day weekend, just hoping that I could go, get my card signed and get outta there! But low and behold nothing in Naija runs so smoothly. Every Friday I go to CD wearing vomit-green coloured khaki trousers and a baggy white T-shirt. Not the most flattering of numbers but can’t say I expected more considering the Naija fashion sense lol. Some people tailor their trousers to fit, but I refuse to spend any money altering this piece of ISH I am obligated to yet detest wearing. Anyway, it’s not like there are any fine, well mannered, cultured and relatively BAWLIN’ Naija brothers out there I want to attract so who cares?
So CD takes place in this ancient, broken-down disgrace of a building called the L.G.A (Local government area) where you’re forced to stand around in the blistering heat and under the scorching sun, weeping as the the pungent smell of your skin slowly burning fills your nostrils. I mean it’s just madness! My once milk chocolate brown skin has now become a charred dirty brown colour; kinda like when you’ve eaten a lot of ish and you force out a sturdy poo that looks like charcoal from the furnace. Not that I’ve ever done that :/. So after roasting for a few hours the bipolar leader of my CD group finally decides that she has wasted our time enough and reluctantly signs and hands out the CD cards we are so desperate to collect. I mean, the woman has issues. Sometimes I overhear her grumbling to herself, having some deranged argument over whether she should hand out the cards or leave them to fester in her possession. There have been times when I’ve politely asked her to sign and shes replied by screaming manically “clear this place Jo!” and furiously gesturing for me to go away, so of course I hastily make my escape, for her to start laughing and giggling about me being her daughter whilst violently pulling me back into place as she scribbles over my card. What on earth?! her eccentric ways never fail to surprise me, but then I guess it is to be expected. There are few mental facilities in Naij so the mad get to roam free with the ‘normal’. But then again is anyone in Naij normal? hehehehe.
Even though the woman is crazy she is smart in the sense that she knows when she meets someone special. Although annoying she has seemed to take quite a liking to me. Sometimes signing for my clearance when she isn’t the main person authorised to, and even pulling me to the front of the queue to sign my card in return for pleasing her by talking wickedly fast in my foreign English accent. It leaves her in hysterics, which is actually very amusing, like watching a baby after you make a funny face or googly noise. I must say that sizzling in the desert as she signs the cards is no fun, but sometimes there is a little drama to keep the desperate corper entertained. Once during clearance (when we have to queue up to hand in forms that make us eligible for our allowance), whilst we were wrestling with each other in our sweat drenched uniforms to get to the front of the queue, a guy and a girl broke into a fight. Apparently the girl was trying to get to the front of the queue and the guy wasn’t letting her. In naija they have this stupid thing they do where they leave a queue telling the person in front “I’m at your back”, only to return a considerable time later, when the queue has grown longer and the crowd more hostile and shove their way to the front clinging determinedly to the person they’d left. So basically the guy was fighting with her because he rightfully wouldn’t let her go to the front, to which the girl slapped him, only to be returned by a super slap from the guy. And I mean this slap was Immense! The dude literally reached his hand to the sky to tickle the clouds, and then brought it soaring back down at the speed of lightning, to land on the side of this frenzied girls head. LOL the SLAP echoed for miles around, attracting the looks of astonished corpers. LMAO I wish I could have snapped her picture and put it on the WALL OF SHAME WALL OF SHAME. She was a MESS looking all dishevelled and embarrassed. BIATCH you shouldn’t have slapped him in the first place. That’s one of the lessons I’m learning; beware of Naija gals, since most of them are sly biatches.
I’m sad to say but this country is slowly influencing me, whether in a negative way is for you to decide, but one thing I’ve noticed about myself is that I’m slowly becoming less sensitive. I’m sure that’s down to the fact that Nigerians are so bloody rude and lack manners considerably. The simple ‘thank you’, ‘please’ or ‘I’m sorry’ is totally alien to them. Not to forget that they use hurtful words like fat and ugly incredibly loosely. Today I walked in to work to find myself surrounded and being heckled by a gang of older female colleagues. They were picking at my clothes laughing about how my outfit would be perfect for fancy dress and that my dress sense was so bad that we needed to sit down and have a ‘talk’, not to forget the time I was diligently working at my desk to be hurled insults of my weight gain and being an orobo. I mean really?! There was a time I would go home and cry, but now I just laugh it off, reminding myself of how ignorant and rudely blunt Nigerians are; forgiving them as I would a clumsy child. I think I’ve also become a lot braver than I used to. Now I can attempt to argue with a taxi driver about his extortionate price (although my English accent doesn’t help) and hustle my way to the front of a long queue without feeling too guilty. I am not quite fearless or guiltless but surely but slowly I’m getting there, gradually acquiring some of the die-hard skills necessary to survive in this jungle.
One thing I can say that I am mastering is how to use my looks and charm to get me what I want. Lol, Finally my psychology degree is being of some use. I tend to get myself out of trouble or doing things by talking really fast and high pitched with my accent, which ultimately irritates and confuses the person I’m out-manoeuvring to such an extent that they just shake their head in bewilderment and usher me on grumbling under their breath “oyingbo..”. YHHHH BOI! Unfortunately for the Naija man being in Naija is influencing me so much that I am gradually taking on the mindset of a Naija gal. Not so much the spiteful, cold, bitchy and disloyal characteristics but more of the shrewd and manipulative side. So many guys have chased after me, trying to show off with their material things that I have been given no choice but to chop it. Feast on the buffet of free lunches, dinners, gifts and outings that they offer, purely just to show them that I am not blind to the fact that their supposed kindness has ulterior motives, and no matter how much they try they will not get anything from me, apart from my occasional company if proven worthy. All I know is that I know what I want, thus neither my body or my mind can be bought by your material gifts. Ultimately as a woman, Nigeria is instilling in me a confidence I never knew I had. It’s almost like the men work to woo you and are persistent in their affection if their feelings are true, hence why I’m getting fat with so many free meals; the men must think I’m worth something, maybe a green card? On the other hand, the UK man overlooks a black woman like she’s the last choice, rarely is she wined and dined and doted on because of her indescribable beauty and persona like she deserves. Honestly, that is the best thing I can say about Nigeria so far. Although some of the guys may be treating you to show that they have the money to do so, others do it because they see you as a beautiful woman, thus you should be treated like a fragile rose, well until marriage anyways lol.
By the way I’m contemplating bribing the old lady to sign my CD card so I can skip a few weeks. Wish me luck 🙂