I first met Fiyin and her family when I was serving in Kano. Her Dad pastored the church I attended. The warm welcome that the church, led by Fiyin's Dad, gave to all corpers definitely contributed to the lovely memories I have of my time in Kano! They lived just down the road from where I stayed so I visited theirs often throughout my time in Kano and even had a couple of visits from Fiyin and her brothers too! Interestingly, I also found out, soon after I met the family, that my older brothers were friends with Fiyin's Dad and his brother too. Such a small world. Anyway, today's blog post is not about me or my time in Kano. Fiyin is all grown up now and is currently serving - we've come full circle! Below, she very kindly shares her experience of being in Obubra camp in Cross River State earlier this year. Enjoy!
Fiyin's Camp experience
My name is Fiyinfoluwa Ogunnaike, a graduate of Covenant University, and I studied Industrial Physics. This is a snippet of my experience at Obubra NYSC camp in Calabar from March 16th to 30th, 2021. If I had to use three words to describe my experience, I'd say it was fun, challenging and intriguing.
I arrived at camp the day after my assigned date. The first thing I had to do was leave my bags at the gate and go for my Covid-19 test. Now this was not a funny situation - these Covid-19 tests are brutal! I think the swab that is used gets to your brain (Haha) - it was a lot to handle! After the test, we had to go over to the main hall for documentation, which took a lot of time. Most of us that arrived on the 17th didn't get to finish on the same day. We were just assigned beds and then we finished our documentation the following day.
The next morning, the soldiers woke us up with the sound of the bugle and a lot of us were not prepared. I was one of those "a lot of us"! We were just running about; we literally just threw on anything we could find. Then we went straight to the devotion ground and Muslims went to the make-shift mosque. Devotion was - well, I was feeling sleepy for the first devotion so I can't really tell you what it was all about but I had little choice but to stay awake! Why? Because we were standing!! We stood there from about 5/5:30am till almost 7am. Trust me, it was not funny. I was hopping on one leg and alternating the leg just to stay awake, it wasn't funny at all.
Anyway, afterwards I finished my registration and got a platoon - which was Platoon 4. Our slogan was "Follow who know road"! Haha! My platoon was AMAZING!
I made a lot of friends in camp. It was intriguing, very intriguing. I mean, you'll find out things about yourself that you didn't know! I found out that I am an "introverted extrovert" because I like people and I like being around people but I also really like being by myself!
In Platoon 4, I was Assistant Social Director, meaning anything "social" was down to me, which was EVERY NIGHT, by the way!! I got fed up at one point because I was like "Come on, sometimes we just want to sleep!". It was fun though, as we won most of the competitions. The first two socials we were last and 8th but after that we picked up. It was so much fun. I liked the cooperation from my platoon; everyone was so friendly and cordial and very very into it!
We also had Skills Acquisition & Entreprenuership Department (SAED) classes which were boring, extremely so. I had chosen to go for the 'agro-allied' classes. However, I only managed to stay for an hour and then I could not take it any more!
There were also language classes including one to learn Efik. Wow. I would like to say "Well done" to all the Efik people reading this - your language is a lot! I simply couldn't grasp much of what was being taught so I gave up in the end.
We also had carnival - which was amazing - and yet again my platoon came first. Although we were like the most unprepared platoon ever, but we also had grace, I can't even lie!
Then there was the mammy market, which is a market within camp where there are restaurants selling food and drinks. There are also tailors, clothes vendors, handy men and whatever else you might be looking for in camp - they are all there! But the thing is it is all very pricey because they know corp members have no other choice; which is really sad. However, the food there was really lovely - I ate there a few times as I didn't always eat at the main camp cafe.
Leaving camp was bittersweet for me because I relocated so I am really going to miss a lot of my guys and the friends I made in camp. Not to mention my roommates, who were some of the best roommates ever. They were such clowns but so lovely and supportive.
Hope you enjoyed reading a little bit about my camp experience and even learnt something, maybe!
© Fiyinfoluwa Ogunnaike May 2020
Catch up with Fiyin and all she's up to on Instagram @officially_fofo
Buy your copy of Memoirs of a 'Lazy Korfa' (eBook or Paperback) and read all about Tunmise's own experience of NYSC camp in Kano almost 17 years ago!