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My first day at the NYSC camp

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Aware of the long journey ahead of me, I left my home in the south-eastern part of Nigeria for the NYSC camp in the south-west (Sagamu, Ogun State) very early in the morning. This measure was also necessary since it was the rainy season and some sections of the road were bad.

I left for the NYSC orientation camp on the very first day that the camp opened, haven been advised by friends to enter the NYSC orientation camp the first day. According to them this will make life easier for me.

However, entering the NYSC-camp the very first day didn't make life any easier for me. First when I got to the NYSC-camp it was as if everybody was already there. in fact I was not one of the first 900 corp member that reported to camp. I was later informed that some people reported to camp a day before the official opening of the NYSC-camp.

The situation in camp was that of confusion. As at 8:00pm the first day less than 200 corp members were registered leaving more than a thousand of us un-registered. Being registered comes with some benefits. You receive your NYSC-kits and are allocated a hostel only when registered. In addition registration comes with the meal ticket. So, as you can see those of us not registered were on the losing side.

The NYSC officials in camp did not make life any easier. There was no proper organisation. The registration process was tedious and slow. The NYSC camp looked dirty and unkempt. I was already in camp when vehicles carrying the food that we were to eat in camp were being off loaded. In fact it was as if the NYSC-officials suddenly woke up that morning to remember that some young Nigerians will be arriving at that camp that day.

At around 9:00pm after a very long wait for information, we were told that we can make use of one of the empty hostels. That was good news for some us that cannot wait to rest our tired bones. We did not even have time to sort ourselves into males and females.

Because it was dark and we were very tired we did not bother to sort ourselves into males,females and well mosquitoes. We were all sleeping side by side. I placed my blanket on the floor and used my pillow case, bedsheets and some of my clothes as pillow. I then used my insecticide treated mosquito net to cover my body, however this did not deter mosquitoes from singing some of their most famous tunes for me.

Although we were later invited to eat, I did not accept the invitation. Hunger was the least of my problems right now. I have to secure my space and my belongings. I cannot wait for this day to be over.

I closed my eyes and that was the first day.

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