Getting ready for the registration was a hassle to say the least! Before the day it was as though I was prepping for service proper and I hadn’t even started shopping. First task was to make sure our names were sent by the school if not, nothing for us; luckily we were good to go. Next task, storm nysc’s portal at 12am sharp, this didn’t pan out though and all I could think was “chei, na so I go enter stream 2 or not get ‘sexy’ states to pick from”. As luck will have it, NYSC knew what more than half of Nigeria was planning and decided to open the portal at the break of dawn.
Sharply the next morning I was out of the house, phone ringing off the hook from friends that had already gotten numbers at the cafe, literal heart pain as the trepidation returned. Imagine the relief when I wasn’t as doomed as I had imagined. Of course it was a hustle to just sign and upload passport. Men, the number of times my heart raced a little faster than usual ‘no be child’s play’.
Lo and behold the ‘sexy’ states were there and after picking the places I wanted to go to, I was left with the Northern state slots to fill. Naturally, Abuja was the first, the question then was what to fill for the second slot? ‘Eenie minnie mini mo’ or present situations of the state was the only way to decide with the popular choice being ‘KD’, Kaduna, or its neighbour ‘KN’, Kano. Eventually we all know the state that won that argument, KN.
Next up was the market and prayers in no particular order. The hustle to find things that are white, like we all know, it’s when you need something that’s when it disappears from the market. Nonetheless we were consistent, even ‘gingering’ the slackers and trying to outsmart the market people that were trying to outsmart us. It was about that time, call up letters were going to come out and the trepidation returned. Deep sleeper like me, yet I was alert when my phone rang around 3/4 am telling me to go and check my fate. My network providers decided they couldn’t be my friend that day so I called the person back and asked for help. I couldn’t believe the words coming out of her mouth and the reassurance that followed that I wasn’t the only one on that path. I ‘sha’ chose to believe it was all an error, I mean after all, I had been praying. Luckily for me someone was awake in the house; I had to go find comfort before coming to see if brother network was back. Lo and behold what do I see on my portal ‘KN’!!!
I needed to lie down, I felt. The tears came and the headache not far behind. Sensing the bad news, my sister and late night partner tried her best to comfort me and eventually I fell into a fitful sleep. Dawn broke and I felt shabby, all the plans for that day was pushed to the next, I literally needed 24 hours to boot after seeing joyful comments of friends that had gotten my coveted ‘sexy’ states. Funny how you never take note of certain things till push literally comes to shove. The map of Nigeria helped show me exactly where I was going. The thought of not going to camp wasn’t an option, after waiting for so long for service to finally come I just had to start mapping the movement.
Pinning down logistics was a major feat and I ended up arriving in camp 2 days after the official date. Breaking the journey was the best option, so Lagos was the first port of call before moving to Kano. Luckily I knew someone in Kano who had been there for a few months so she picked me up and took me and my new friend, Mrs M, with our bags and baggage to where we could get a car to camp. The journey started when the car was finally full with of course mostly PCM’s, Prospective Corps Members. Imagine my surprise when our driver parked the car and went to pray. Coming from PH this was shocking to me, nevertheless we (me, Mrs M, and our seat partner), were all ‘gisting’ and sharing bananas with groundnuts to complete the equation.
Two whole hours to get to camp, I just tire!!! The scenery wasn’t encouraging either and I tell you, I wasn’t so optimistic about three (3) weeks in this boarding house even if it had ‘bonuses’ here and there. Finally we started seeing more humans as opposed to land and eventually we saw one of the landmarks of that L.G, a massive dam called Kusala dam, it was a beautiful sight. Imagine the relief from both body and mind when we finally got to the gate of camp, unfortunately we weren’t all in the same camp and the others had to get a bike to take them to the next camp not far from where we were.
I and Mrs M were together though so we went through the process of being searched and had to sit by the gate for almost an hour if not more watching our efficient colleagues on the parade ground. I can happily say I didn’t envy them, the sun was hot and all I could think of was ice cold water! Finally we got screened at the gate and the procession continued. My friends from school that were more efficient than I came to show me to the hall where I would start registration but night was fast approaching so Mrs M and I decided it was wiser to get our bed space before we’ll have stories that touch!!
To Be Continued…
PS: This is a serial article, through which the writer will be sharing her NYSC experience. The rest will unfold with time, keep anticipating!
Written by: IGOLO ANIEBO
“IT CAN ONLY GET BETTER”