Despite all wish to continue this blog, I have decided to stop it here.
Really, I’d love to continue but thing is I’m starting a new blog: ‘The diary of a hustler’ and I promise you you gonna love it too. It is actually more of a continuation of this. If you want the link, you know how to get me ;)
Olamide knocked on the gate. My wristwatch showed some minutes to 10pm. But in truth, the time should be past 9. I allow my watch some 15/20 minutes ahead as my way of trying to keep up to time and be early.
I looked around. Beautiful neighbourhood. Silent hums of power plants and AC coarse the night. Lovely built houses, gardens and lights enveloped us.
The house is a white bungalow. And from that front view, it looked big. Well atleaast I’m sure to count about 5 or more windows from that front already. That gave me a sigh of relief. There is surely room to accommodate us for the night. Somewhere inside, close to the gate is a cross sculpture. Not too big; golden. It has a white circle shape round it. If I remember well, that should be white in color. The outside area just before the road is covered with gravel stones. Then there are beautiful flowers in big vases planted just around the gutter edge.
I picked up all this within some quick seconds. Then I picked up a stone and joined Olamide to knock the gate. I was sure people were inside. The generator was on. They weren’t just hearing us. So I knocked harder.
Few knocks after we had a little girl call out who is there. Olamide answered. She came close to the gate but didn’t open. She peeped instead and asked who we were again. Olamide introduces us as corpers and ask if the ‘circle leader’ is around. She replied no. She then asked if she could talk to any older person around. The girl told us she will be back and left.
Olamide sighed. She was looking very tired and stressed up. I bet I was too. The hustles of the day and 3 hours+ journey from camp has been a tough one. But I wasn’t just tired. I was damn hungry and thirsty. In fact at that moment, I needed a lot of things. A good bath. A good dinner. A peaceful sleep. I winked at Olamide. That is saying all is well without the words. We waited patiently; I with one eye checking on the two big bags and pails we dropped just by the road.
A man’s voice came out from behind the gate. It was husky. But I couldn’t pick even his face or any other thing about him. I allow Olamide step closer to do the talking. It is her church afterall. The man asked what we want in a rather harsh voice. Olamide greeted instead. I greeted him too. Olamide introduced us as corpers then more of herself along the lines of ‘bearing the cross’. She emphasized she is a member of the church, which I guess bearing the cross means. She then explained our plight and that we need accommodation for the night. She added she had called the church in Lagos and was directed here. But she didn’t finish. The man cut her short.
“We don’t have accommodation here for you people”, the man shouted. If he had said that gently, I would have taken it with lots of understanding. But he sounded more like ‘you guys should just get the fuck away!’.
Olamide mumbled some words; some explanations. But the man was halfway back before the words came out. She looked at me. I can see frustration and disappointment in those eyes. Frustration for all possible reasons; disappointment possibly because she was the one that compelled me to come along.
I smiled at her. Poor girl. She must have been new to this. In my little life I have seen worst disappointments that belittle this as a joke. She expressed her surprise. ‘Even in Akure, non-members come to spend a month at the church and they are well treated!’
I smiled again. Then reminded her it is not about the church but the personnel. ‘We were just unlucky to meet the wrong person’.
I pulled her hand. And together we walked into the darkness.
By the time we got to Calabar it was closing up to 9pm. I had already told Beloved about my posting and discussed possible accommodation with him. He said I could stay at the RCF (Redeem Christian Fellowship) family house. Many people do. He is an exco there. The joint christian fellowship (NCCF) and that for the muslims offer accommodation too. They allow you till you settle down in your place of assignment. If like me you are posted to a place with no provision for accommodation, you can decide to stay with them fully. Or till you raise money to get accommodation for yourself. But there are rules and committments. It is called ethics. And you have to abide by them.
Steven’s call shook off sleep from my eyes. I picked up. He called my name. That is his way of greeting me. But that evening, he drew it long, painfully. I asked him what was wrong. He said he is unhappy with his posting. He has been posted to a remote village. To make it worst, accommodation at the kings palace, buried far in a deep bush with no surrounding houses and far from primary assignment. He was really not happy. He said he not interested in the place and definitely not going. I didn’t know how to console him. Tell him to cope? Tell him to leave? I promised we will talk it out when I’m settled and that he should not be too fast to decide. He hung up.
Peace called some long minutes later. She asked if I’m in town already. I told her I’m still enroute. We talked long seconds more. She mentioned she didn’t wait to collect her allowance but heard she can get it at the secretariat. I replied she definitely will be able to. Deep down though, and really, I don’t know.
The bus moved on. I asked Olamide and Felix about accommodation. We’ve talked about it before but just for the word. Olamide said she will be going to her church. Felix is staying with her brother’s girlfriend. Olamide begged me to come along with her. I smiled and told her no. She said she wouldn’t want to go alone. I laughed at her being afraid of being alone and made fun of her.
My phone made a notification sound. My battery was almost flat. I called Taiwo and told him I’m almost in Calabar. He told me the junction to stop. Minutes later, my phone died.
The posting letter rush
It is campfire baby ;)
Tuesday, March 29 came rather very fast. Faster than I imagined. People were up as early as 2am and the room was in full chaos. I considered the pandemonium for some minutes, lay back in bed and shut myself out of it.
I woke up around 5am. Just in time the trumpet goes for morning parade. But no wake up trumpet today. And non of those annoying wake up whistles and their blowers. I went to toilet (bush rather), went to grab water, had my bath and started packing up.
The locals littered every rooms and I had to shout on many of them to leave the room a couple of times. They were hunting down and scavenging every possible left overs - pails, food flasks and plastics, tennis, clothes, everything. The not too good part is they steal your things in the name of finding these left overs.
A lot of guys gave them their pails. But I didn’t. I’m yet to know where I’m going and getting a pail might be a hard one. I however left many other things behind - the useless white tennis I never washed, badly sown shorts and some other things.
By 9am everyone was set. By now the hostels were empty already. We were all anxiously waiting for the arrival of the governor or his representative for the closing parade. Without his presence, no passing out.
I spent the waiting time with Folarin at the clinic. Dude has been very sick since Monday morning. Seun, Olamide and Felix were there too. Half the time, we lift his spirit, the other half, we talk about random things.
11pm and parade yet to start. An official at the clinic said the governor didn’t show up till 3pm the last time. I sighed heavily at that. It is really gonna be a long day.
But we didn’t stay that long. Parade started just about an hour later. I didn’t go though. I stayed there with Folarin at the clinic. It was rather short and soon it was time for collecting posting letter.
My heart beat increased. My fears came back. People rushed to get in queue. I stood outside the clinic door and considered them with prying eyes. I didn’t join them. My mnd was busy.
Shortly I heard one of the lines call my number. I dashed closer. The number was repeated louder. I got out my id card and squeezed my way to the front. The official handed me the letter. I folded it into half to cover the content immediately. Then made fun of myself by shouting “St Bredren’s Secondary school Iyamoyoung, Obubra….arrrgh” (that’s camp). People quizzed at me. Some laughed histerrically. They must have thought I have been truly posted there.
I made it to the far end and away from the crowd. I opened the letter…my heart skipped. My hands got shaky.
The first thing my eye caught were irrelevant. I scanned quickly for my place of posting. Then I saw it. In just 6 letters. UNICAL! I smiled gently. Really I should have jumped up with joy. Then took out my phone. I called mum.
A couple hours later, we’ve all got our posting letter and a N10,000 inconveniency allowance. Olamide and Felix were posted to Calabar too. A different local government though - municipal. Mine was Calabar South. I met a chic in my platoon posted to UNICAL as well. She told me her name is Peace. We jawed for a few minutes and exchanged numbers. Seun was posted to a different place. But the officials we talked to said it is a town and he will enjoy it. Folarin got Bekwerra (hoping I get that right). Word is it is a remote area. An official mentioned no MTN network there. Just Airtel and Glo. Folarin wasn’t happy about it. But his health couldn’t give him the chance to do or say anything. He had been in the band and I would have thought he would have got a better placement. I so heard they were promised. In truth they deserve it coz they were really used. But as it turned even merit didn’t save many people. Not even Adaeze, the miss NYSC. She met me shortly after I collected my letter and asked where. I told her. I asked hers. She said Boki. Bitterly. No doubt, she was pissed about it. I tried to console her by saying it may not be as bad as she thinks. But truth is we both know that’s not true. Even the name sounded like somewhere out of life itself. And the distance? Fucking far! Adaeze stood there and complained bitterly, reemphasizing she is not staying at all and definitely going back home.
A couple of delays popped up. I left camp around 5pm with Olamide and Felix. We bade goodbye to Folarin and Seun. We hope to meet again soon.
By now you know both of the former rumours I mentioned are complete fallacy. Allowance not increaced to N18,000+, camp is ending at the normal time: 29th, some few hours away.
This is mixed reaction to me. I can say I’m happy as part. Happy that this crazy 3 weeks is over. But the other part of me is unhappy. Scared, maybe. Because I’m yet to know what the morrow is bringing. Where will I be posted? The state cordinator already saying only a few percent are posted to urban areas. Less than 20%. So what is my fate? What will the posting letter read after march pass tomorrow?
But that’s just part of the hard part. My main worry is the INEC registeration we are to take part in. The officials deemed it compulsory. This means even after clearing at whatever local government I’m posted to, I can’t even go home! I have to wait 3 more weeks to help INEC with their shits! Well, I’m still trying to believe it is really compulsory. If it is not, I must sail home not latter than Thursday this week. Compulsory? That will be a big disaster! My only option then is to call mum to send my laptop to me via courier. I’ve expressed my options to her already and she definitely didn’t like the sound of staying for the INEC shit. She is definitely missing me already.
By the way, the list of approved redeployments pasted today. I really feel I should have applied for one over a false health report. Really. I had the chance. Steven got a chance for me to get one for just around N700. He did his. And that was why I pulled a call to him straight up when I heard the list is out. I asked him if the list is out at their ends. He confirmed then added he didn’t make the list. But that he will reapply. Credit finished just about then. That was all I wanted to hear so I didn’t push further.
So here I am, waiting on what tomorrow brings; praying it brings good.
A lot happened yesterday. Sorry I couldn’t shout out the gists so fresh. Blame it on the network. And that’s kinda my biggest fear. I can only pray I don’t get posted to a place like this where the 3G network is awol and even the EDGE is bitter news, of which I hear there are many of such places.
So one, my khaki trouser stolen. Went down to the ‘stream’ to wash, spread out the cloths around there to dry and by the time I’m back, it is away on a not-coming-back trip. Now tomorrow is passing out and I’m without khaki trousers. My Marc Jacobs shades also broken on the left handle. That’s by the way anyway.
Seun’s wallet + all his freshly collected allowance was stolen too. Really deep and crazy one. And yet no luck on finding even just the wallet.
The interesting part? Camp fire night. It was wild but not as wild as expected. All platoons were given meat portions and were to cook for their platoon and do an intra-platoon food competition. I was with the platoon members through most of the afternoon and evening at the shop they rented at mami. It wasn’t like I was really involved in the cooking or anything (I helped a bit with logs and water though). There was just nothing interesting to do and watching the girls overkill the foods and form ‘I am a better cook’ just seem the next interesting thing.
I took a bottle of beer later in the afternoon. First ‘real’ drink since camp. Then some friends got me involved with some palm wine and then a little bit of red wine much later. In all, moderation was the word.
My platoon prepared different delicacies of food. Call it overkill as in the end, we got the least score. We were last position. They did pounded yam, fufu, plaintain porridge, salad, coconut rice, jollof rice; the ones I remember. My only regret is the only thing I got to eat was the jollof rice. The others were just in small portions for the judges. Even the jollof rice suck. I ate the meat, some spoons and handed it to one of the young locals littering around. But we were compensated for the loss. We won overall best platoon. And we deserve it. Miss NYSC, Miss Hot Legs, first in quiz, 3rd in comedy and a whole lot of other awards.
Being sunday, everyone was allowed on mufty. It was the real first sunday I experienced in camp. I spent most of the first sleeping and I was out of camp the second. So the sights I saw was like I never noticed any of those girls before. Damn, those white top and shorts we are always on is so concealing! Or maybe because it is camp fire night and everyone wanted to get noticed. Different skirts, bum shorts and jeans. Crazy lengths, tightness and revelations. And the tops? Crazier than you can imagine.
I took notice of a particular chic in my platoon with the cooking crew. It was as if I’v never seen her in the platoon before. But I have. She was just looking more radiant that evening. I interrupted her and asked if she understands yoruba. She gave me that “haven’t u seen me before? Why now” look. I told her she is looking smashing and ‘she is the one girl I’m suddenly interested in in the platoon at the moment and have this crazy crush on her’, in yoruba. She smiled and moved away. I held her hand and asked her name. She smiled again and gestured she will be back. But she never did. May be it was the load of things she was doing with the food. She was the main chef. Or she just purposely let it that way.
The fire was lighted around 11pm. Platoons danced round it, a couple of irrelevant talks from the high table, food competition started, winners of the variety of contests announced, overall best platoon announced and then music. But the dj was a miss. I wonder where MTN got a dj like that. I can bet he is a local. He was just mixing old boring songs in wrong order. Only a few were nice ones.
But it was fun all the same. Because people waited patiently for it. And they wanted it to be fun. I got dancing shots with a couple of girls before the dance floor became crowded. Then guys started ‘customizing’ them - hanging on too close to a girl and make her just his. Most people were with their lovers. You will know with the way they hold each other close and rather smooch than dance. Only a few of us were neutral and danced randomly. But just a small fraction of us were on the dance floor. The majority were at rendevous positions with their lovers. Don’t ask me what they were doing.
I got bored of the bash a few hours later and after several failed attempt at browsing, I went to bed.
Endurance trek today. Stop point was a crappy secondary school. Band treated us to some nice songs. You can guess the outcome.
Yesterday was miss NYSC and guess whose platoon won? Yeah yeah, platoon 2 ;) “Awa eleyi a bad gan!” *in Wizkid’s voice*. Ok, confession. That platoon 10 chic is a beauty. The dark completion, lovely smile and dimple, white lovely tooth set with a sexy gap in front. I think I have a crush on her.