Friday, 15 April 2011

Chronicles de Youth Service

'Otondo' was the word in the air chanted by soldiers.... i felt lost and wanted to run back to my mummy!! and so my days in NYSC (National Youth Service Corps) camp  began..

I had gone to school (Covenant University) some days before camp to collect my 'call-up' letter for my NYSC posting. I was excited and anxious to know where i had been posted although my mum had re-assured me severally that she would take care of where i was going to be posted, i still had to be anxious 'cos in this Nigerian system, nothing ever works the way you think it will and people often disappoint on promises made.
My colleagues and i sat in the big chapel according to our disciplines awaiting our names to be called by the people distributing the letters, and then i heard my name 'Adyms Tee', i shakily answered and stood up to collect my letter, and in that letter all my fears were confirmed. Zamfara was boldly written on the letter as my place of posting!! i almost burst into tears  but as i am not one to cry in public i held the tears back as my lucky friends had grins on their faces for they had gotten the places they wanted while the unlucky ones wore long faces at the thought of going to a foreign place to live for a year. i quickly gathered my senses to decide the next step to take as i had grown up in Lagos and not really had much experience with the North even though my mum resided in Abuja, Zamfara just sounded so northern to me and like one of those places where 'sharia law' was practised.
I was not prepared to accept what was on the letter and i knew there had to be a way around it as i had no intention of living in a place where i had no clue of its position on the map talkless of having to cover myself from head to toe as is the custom for women in places where sharia law is practised, neither was i ready to flout their laws and lose an arm or leg or even my head for not obeying their laws. With all these thoughts running through my head, i called my mum who is a civil servant (these people know someone everywhere!!! take it from me) and informed her of the new development, desperately hoping she would have a solution to this issue. She told me to hop on the next flight to Abuja as she was not ready to lose her child to 'Sharia' after        'slaving' on me all these years and she intends to reap the fruit of her labor...i had to crack a smile when she said that.
I hurriedly said my goodbyes and left the school premises and took a flight to Abuja that evening. I got home and trust my mama, she started making calls, next thing i know we are at her friends place, coincidentally this her friend was presently working with the Director General of NYSC, who had the power via his signature to change postings. My mum gave him the letter to change my posting to Abuja and he said he would try his best to convince the DG to do so. I went home full of hope and a bit worried 'cos that was a Tuesday and 'corpers' were expected to have reported to camp latest Wednesday which was the next day, but somewhere in my mind i had this unwavering certainty that he would be able to convince the DG to sign my posting place to be changed.
The next day around noon there was a knock on the door, it was my mum's friend with my 'freshly' signed posting letter!!! My place of posting had been changed to Abuja and even my camp was to be in Abuja (most peeps did their camp in Kano and served in Abuja)!! needless to say i was extremely excited, the man said as i was extremely lucky as my letter was part of the last ones the man signed before escaping to God knows where to avoid having to sign anymore letters (in my mind i said 'no i am not lucky, i'm blessed with a smirk in my mind o). The man said i should not worry about going today,since it was the DG that signed my letter i could go the next day. He said he had a relative that was also going to camp so we could go together the next day. My mum and i thanked him and i went to pack my things for camp, i slept with a big smile on my that night. I woke up very early the next day and got ready for the camp, then we picked up the man's relative (whom i became very good friends with) and we headed down to Kubwa, the NYSC camp site (with thots of Zamfara outta ma head for good). Jumoke and i chatted in the car and got to know each other better as my mum drove us to the camp......
.....to be continued.....
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