NYSC Diaries is a 6 part series on my blog to commemorate my successful completion of the mandatory National Youth Service. It’s me sharing the stories, experiences and lessons I gathered during the year. Some will be serious, some will be funny, and some almost unbelievable. The one constant thing though is the faithfulness of God through all the seasons. Enjoy! … xX.
Haven narrowly escaped the “box carrying” tradition with no injuries sustained, I breathed a sigh of relief thinking the worst was finally over. This was however short lived as the registration process proved to be a much more difficult task.
I stood and sat on ONE queue for over 5 hours. Within these 5 gruesome hours I saw first hand the diversity of our Nation Nigeria. Nearly all the tribes in Nigeria were represented among the thousands of youths present at the camp. The differences between us were obvious, I will not state them here for the fear of being labeled a “tribalist”. Underneath all of those differences however, we all shared a number of things in common:
>> One Fatherland
>> Successful completion of a first degree
>> And of course we all desperately wanted to get to the front of the line. This led to shunting which in turn led to quarrels and mini-fights but then at the end of the day we all got to finish the registration process even though some did faster than others. This process for me was a reminder that Life is a Race and it’s almost impossible for every runner to finish at the same time and pace.
On the seemingly harmless open field just inform of the camp gate called “THE PARADE GROUND”, I made my second major discovery; I can sleep standing up!
It was our first full day on camp at about 5 AM, all prospective Corp members were summoned to the parade ground. There I was dressed almost identically with over 2000 people. I had massive eye bags, sore limbs and a banging headache from my “box carrying” the previous day. I nodded back to life only to discover one of my platoon members giggling as he had caught me shamelessly sleeping on my feet. In intense embarrassment I asked myself “Who sent me to do NYSC?”.
No doubt it was a drilling process but thankfully with each passing activity it became easier to survive.
I beat my alarm clock two days in a row to get ready for the morning parade, surprisingly the morning exercises became my favorite camp activity and I no longer trembled at the sight and sound of the soldiers.
My favorite lines in the NYSC Anthem read; “Let us lift our nation high” and “with dedication and selflessness”. In order to lift a heavy object off the ground, the easiest way is to lift it from the bottom with help from others. Nigeria is that heavy object and lifting it up from the bottom will require humility and team work. At camp, each time we sat on the grass, ran at the sound of “double-up double-up” and carried out all the other “frustrating” instructions given to us by our Instructors for the fear of being punished, we learnt humility. Each time we came together in our platoons to carry out the tasks given to us, we learnt team work. Both things we need in other to effectively serve our nation in this NYSC year and beyond.
I made the decision to focus on the positives in the 3 week journey. Ever since I made the decision, I was able to smile and sometimes even laugh through the painful and frustrating moments.
So far so good! I look forward to brighter days ahead.
Gentleman Corp Member, 2015 Batch B, Oyo state.