For the first time in my life, I was going to be on my own in one of Nigeria’s States without family nearby. This came with a cascade of mixed emotions, I felt excited, scared and anxious about the new things I was about to experience and the new people I was about to meet.
In addition to the smoothie of emotions in me, paranoia set in as the vehicle broke down on the way, thankfully the road was reasonably busy otherwise I would have started anticipating a scene from a Nollywood movie coming to real life. I tried to calm myself down as I waited, looking around anxiously and in semi fear. Of course I prayed, because God was the only one I was familiar with in that situation, so I prayed! The wait lasted for almost 2 hours, as I watched the cab man running around trying to get his car fixed.
We finally arrived the state’s capital which by the way is an Igbo state, hence 98% of the residents speak Ibo, (this means I should learn the language to a reasonable extent soon…tutor needed please!). I watched the Yoruba cab man struggle to pronounce our destination…”abeg where be NIC camp?”, this was always followed by a confused expression and a “you say?” from the person being asked. I always had to intervene and pronounce properly “oga abeg where NYSC camp dey?”
21 Days on the Hills; The Arrival
After a lot of stopping and questioning passers by, we finally found the camp. I had heard stories of soldiers making prospective corpers frog jump into the camp with their bags on their heads so as I approached the camp, I began to pray to God to touch the soldiers/man ‘o’ wars hearts, because I was in no state to frog jump with my bags on my head. My God answered! I entered freely, but made sure not to walk too majestically…these soldiers could be funny sometimes.
So finally, I had arrived, in a place I knew nobody, I was clueless, nervous and scared but mostly excited. I would give you the nitty gritty details of my first day in camp, but I wouldn’t want to bore you to sleep. Just know that it was one of the most STRESSFUL days of my life, yes, there is a stress worse than that which your University (in Nigeria sha) puts you through. Funny thing is, I thought that day was stressful, I had no idea what was coming.
So yes, I spent 21 days on the hills and i’m back to give you the load down. 21 days on the hills of Umunna, Bende local Government in Abia state. Stay with me for the other episodes will you?