Dami and I "met" on Instagram earlier this year. I approached her about sharing her NYSC experience with the Lazy Korfa Community. I was not quite prepared for just how inspiring her story would be; it reminds me that there can be value in the scheme!
Today, we're sharing the first of a 4-part series so buckle up and stay with us for this inspiring ride! (Rather listen to Dami tell her story? Scroll to the bottom of the page!)
Dami's NYSC experience (Part 1)
I look back on my service year and it was one of the most beautiful years of my life. The build up to actually going to serve was rather interesting. For some reason, in November of the year I was supposed to serve, which was November 2014, the University did not add my name to the list they sent for NYSC. I remember it was a traumatic period for me. I cried. I questioned God. I had already had quite a few delays in life, then I thought "Ah ahn, NYSC delay to come join all the other delays I had already suffered?" But now, I am thankful for how things went. The next batch was either February or May. I remember I did the registration and all that. Finally, my name came out. "Yay!" I thought initially but not so "Yay" at the end of the day as I had been posted to Sokoto. Now, for context, I am a Lagosian. I'm from Ebute Meta (just like the song by Banky W!) but interestingly, I had lived most of my life in Ibadan, Oyo State.
I really had never travelled around Nigeria, much less being sent up North for my service year. I was ready to go though, as I am quite an adventurous person, and as far as I am concerned God is with me. However, I was working as a broadcaster in one of the media houses in Ibadan at the time and my employer had offered to help influence my service year but I had refused. My parents had tried as well to convince me to at least speak to one or two people to try to influence it and I had also refused. I had said I would go wherever I am posted to because I believe that wherever I am posted to is where God will have me be for that year. So you can imagine that after all my drama and I was posted to Sokoto, my parents were having none of it.
Although, I was ready to go. I remember at some point they had to take me to one of our Pastor friends to say "Ah, please talk to this girl, we don't understand her own brand of Christianity!"
At the end of the day, I decided to defer my service year so I didn't go. Some part of me felt bad because of what would now never be but I left it at that and I said "Oh well, the next batch is in October, I'll wait till then. It's just a few more months anyway".
So, miracle number 1, by the time it was the next batch for the first time Government had decided that corps members would have a say in where they would serve.
Terrorism was at its peak and the corpers in the North were experiencing insecurity. So, the Government decided you could pick three states and they would post you to one of the three States. So, I picked States where I hoped I could continue my career in broadcasting as a Corper and do well. I wanted places that had good Television houses. Based on the research I had done, I picked Abuja, Edo State and one last place which I can't remember now but probably Lagos or Ogun State. But it was the very first time Corpers had a choice.
So one year after I was initially supposed to serve, in October 2015, I got my call up letter and I had been posted to Edo State. Thankfully, Benin in Edo State is just about a 5-hour drive from Ibadan, Oyo so it was not too much of a bother for my parents. My Mum also had a childhood friend whose family lived in the University (Uniben) as her husband was a lecturer there. So I had some sort of family that would be there and would be guardians to me in my service year. So, I set off for Benin.
I remember praying and telling God that I wanted to use the one year totally for Him, to please Him with everything and in everything. I am not sure I had ever been as God-conscious my whole life as I was that year. It was like my service year was a personal consecration to God, that was the determination I had in my heart. It was a seed. I felt like the year was for God and I was going to use it doing only what He wants me to do and in any way He wants me to use it.
To Be Continued!
Dami Busari is a Teen Mentor & Author, MediaPreneur and Worship Minister. She is passionate about mentoring teenagers, especially teenage girls and this gave rise to Pearl Initiative, a faith-based Non-Governmental Organization. Damilola is wife to an awesome husband and mum to two lovely boys. Find out more at damibusari.com
Catch up with Dami and all she's up to on Instagram @damibusari
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!