I first 'met' Osa through the very lively Nigerian "Bookstagram" community on Instagram. When she commented on a Lazy Korfa review post about 6 weeks ago saying she met her husband at camp, I was really interested in their story. It was the first I had heard of people meeting at camp and actually going on to get married!
I slid into her DM because my curiousity knows no bounds. Hahaha! I asked if she would kindly share her story with the Lazy Korfa Community because surely I wasn't the only one who would be interested! Also, if you have read Memoirs of a 'Lazy Korfa' you'll know one of the hot topics was "camp love" and I was intrigued to hear about theirs!
And of course, we had to find out if they got that cash gift we hear about - apparently people who meet and marry as a result of NYSC get a cash gift from the NYSC Directorate - Osa and Charles didn't get any money O! We asked. Ha!
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So here it is Osa and Charles' beautiful love story - NYSC love O!
Osa and Charles' Story
My name is Osariemen Uwaila Obodoeke and I am married to Charles Okechukwu Obodoeke. We have been together for 12 years and on November 3rd 2020, we would be celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary. We have a precarious five year old son named Kamsiyochukwu.
Charles and I met in November of 2008, during the Batch C NYSC camp, in Umudi Nkwerre, Imo state. (NYSC's yearly intakes are in batches).
I almost missed getting accepted into camp as I was just called to the Nigerian Bar and the deadline for admittance into camp was on the same day as my call to bar. I had to hurriedly fly to Owerri from Abuja the next day. Luckily, Law School graduates who had just been called to bar were given special consideration.
I had never been to Imo state prior to that and when I got to Owerri, I hurriedly took a bike to the camp site at Umudi Nkwerre (bad decision as the journey was more than two hours long!!). I arrived camp to meet everyone on the parade ground in their full uniform and being addressed by the State Director.
I did my registration and made my first friend, Ejiro.
Camp was a blast for my friends, Juliet, Ejiro and I. We were quite popular and
known around. We became friends with the RSM (Regimental Sergeant Major) and most of the Man O' War people. We gave our meal tickets out and always spent time in the Mammy market eating during the day and drinking our Guinness stout and palm wine combo at night.
I met Charles (who I had been seeing around forming ''fine boy'') on one of our wild and free nights. He was sitting with his friends on another table and said to me, ''Can I ask you something?''. I didn't reply and went on speaking with my friend Juliet.
Then she said, ''Osa, this yellow paw paw guy is talking to you oh''. I asked him what he wanted to say and he said ''Why do you drink so much?" 🤦🏽. I went on a tirade. ''Wait, who the hell are you? Do you go around asking guys here that kind of silly question?'' My feminist side talking. Well, he apologised and we started speaking anytime we saw each other around.
My friend Juliet and I participated in the ''Miss Hot Legs'' competition and I was the first runner up and Charles wouldn't let me be from that day on.
He had been in a long term relationship that had just ended before camp and I was in a ''situationship'' with a Muslim guy from law school. We hadn't broken up before Charles and I started dating but we both knew it wasn't going anywhere anyway, so. 🤷🏾.
Charles was posted to Obowo LGA and I was posted to Njaba LGA, but we both stayed in Owerri. The relationship got pretty serious during the NYSC year, so yeah, it was easy to continue after that.
I guess it was easy for me to have a serious relationship with him that then led to marriage because as a feminist in Nigeria, it is pretty hard to meet men who don't believe in the ''I am the head and authority of you'' narrative. He was and still is, a man who believes in gender equality and understands what it means in a marriage.
Plus, he is the calm to my tornado.
Again, he is quite a looker. He is.
© Osariemen Obodoeke July 2020
@tallosa_reads on Instagram
Well, what a memorable first encounter that was. Haha!
Thank you Osa and Charles (and Kamsi!) for sharing your story with us! We wish you the most amazing life together full of joy and love and all good things!
Also check out Osa's book review for Memoirs of a 'Lazy Korfa' here and we're throwing in her gorgeous picture below!
Did you meet your partner or spouse at camp? We want to hear about it!
Share your love story or any other NYSC memories with us and we'll post our favourites to the blog which you can read on the Lazy Korfa Community (LKC) page. Stick around for some behind the book musings as well as book excerpts.
Memoirs of a 'Lazy Korfa' is available for purchase as an eBook or paperback within and outside Nigeria. Details on can be found here.