Kebbi Diaries,  MY NYSC ARCHIVE

DEAR NORTHERN OTONDOS

I know it’s been a while since I posted here but first, yayyyy! Congratulations to the latest otondos in town. I know somebody is probably feeling like why otondo but well, I’m sure otondo sounds better than hearing a Northern Soldier call you a white fowl believe me and moreover, you guys haven’t been sworn in yet, so, you are unofficially a corp member.

Second, a little diversion. . .

I know I said something about bringing back a series, I didn’t forget and also, it feels so unbearable having to stay this long to post another blog post but mehn, I have been quite engaged. A lot has been happening in this sphere but above all, we know God is good.

Back to today’s blogpost.

My desire to write this post came from a tag I got on Facebook by a friend who needed an insight for another friend that has been posted to Kebbi State and after some conversations with the person, I felt the need to do a post on that. Then again, I didn’t want to write this post again since I couldn’t make it on Wednesday (cos I had to travel) and I felt like it’s already too late, otondos are already in camp and all but yesterday, I spent almost four hours in a bus with some female otondos who will be going to camp the next day and mehn, yesterday was one of those days I was grateful I don’t watch BB Naija cos these ladies spent the whole of the journey analyzing the housemates – the ugly one, the dumb one, the forming one; I can’t even begin to go into details but that’s not the focus today sha.

Then, at a point, the driver was too fast and someone was like e rora o, corper le gbe o (gently o, you have corp members as passengers o).  In my mind, I laughed, I was like see these white fowls o. So, what caught my attention more was the fact that they were saying a lot of things that weren’t true about being a Northern Corp Member. I heard so many things and I felt like where did they hear this from?

Consequently, I’ll be bringing memoirs from my NYSC archives here but for now, let me just address some things that are true and not true about being a Corp member in the North and yes, my emphasis will definitely be more on Kebbi cos that’s where I served.

Are you a Batch A 2018 Corp Member deployed to a Northern State and currently travelling down? You should read this! Click To Tweet
Kebbi NYSC Camp, Dakingari in 2016.

Dear Northern Otondos;

1. The journey to North from Western and Eastern Nigeria is always far, but you’ll be alright.

2. The weather in the North is always extreme; raining season comes with sandstorm and all; the sun in the North is not for the fainthearted. Your water bottles are not useful on camp ground cos Soldiers won’t allow you hold it and when you place them on the ground to pick them up later for drinking, you better be planning a hot tea. You’ll spend money on cold water a lot and you might as well get addicted to soft drinks ‘cos the weather makes you crave sugar; I guess that’s why Northerners eat sugar a lot. Get a sunshade too (at least, to survive the sun when you are not on parade ground cos Soldiers won’t let you be blacked up on parade ground).

Parade ground after rehearsals (Dakingari, 2016).

3. You might need a new line like Airtel (This is for the Dakingari otondos). If you must surf the net, Airtel is the best network there. MTN is merely surviving and GLO is barely surviving.

4. Corp members don’t cook in the kitchen and when I say that, I speak for the North. I heard that in the bus yesterday and I was dazed. See the essence of platoons is basically for the social nights and other activities that’s going to be happening in camp and not for cooking. Yes, platoons are assigned to kitchen and these platoons in turn choose representatives from each to go to the kitchen on days they are supposed to and what they do there is not cook, but assist! The only time corp members cook is during their social night days.

5. No Hausa food! This one particularly led to that person saying after all, they will be cooking their own food. Well, no you won’t! and also, No! They won’t feed you Northern meals. They cook normal meals you’re familiar with. Not once did they make Tuwo during my camp moments; they can only provide weird combinations (at least, they are weird to me) like Bread and boiled egg! But every meal that comes from the kitchen is familiar to everyone. No Tuwo Shinkafa, no kunun, no garogaro; etc.

Are you a Batch A 2018 Otondo posted to the North and you are worried about eating Northern Meals? Well, here are some coping mechanisms for you! Click To Tweet

6. Mami is your friend! Personally, I used mami a lot and when I said a lot, I meant I marked my meal ticket thrice and I gave it out to someone who definitely wanted it and probably not needed it. Reasons being that, some of those meals were weird combinations; the tea don’t look like tea and personally, I’m not a comfortable eat-out-anyhow person; I’m easily irritated especially when it comes to meal and how it is made. So, I ate rice, beans and stew almost daily from one Madam tomorrow sth sth at Dakingari and when I wasn’t eating that, I was buying fried yam alone; I don’t think I ever survived on anything else than that in camp. I was wary of akara cos I didn’t want to purge and I bought a couple of gala sha. And there’s a lady called Timaya at Dakingari camp; she’s amazing! We met at camp and we finally found her again at Birnin Kebbi; she is very nice and friendly. She sells female stuff (you should check her out if you’re a Dakingari-camp otondo. You can even get some very cool sunshade there). That sounded like ipolowo (advert) for a moment.

Oh! Look at that! I mounted a Camel (Dakingari, 2016)

7. You can wear a wristwatch. Okay, I don’t know who people think Northerners are but it’s bizarre to actually think you won’t be allowed to wear a wristwatch because what now? These guys are the popular mei-wristwatch (wristwatch sellers). If it’s not working, an aboki to your rescue so I don’t understand why someone would think they won’t allow you wear your wristwatch.

8. You don’t have to cover your hair. See, Kebbi is one of the religion-friendly states and I know it’s still a 85% Muslim community but I lived there for almost 2 years, so I think I know what I’m saying. No one in camp is going to enforce hijab on you! And you don’t have to wear your NYSC cap 24/7 because it’s North. The only reason you have to probably wear it 24/7 it’s because it’s NYSC rules so it won’t get lost cos when you lose it, no one will replace it and you can’t be on parade ground without your cap! And it’s sort of some protective wear against the scorching Northern sun. The thing is NYSC expects you to be fully kitted always and all the time.

Dear Northern Otondos, no one in camp is going to enforce hijab on you! And you don’t have to wear your NYSC cap 24/7 because it’s North! Click To Tweet

9. Do not give any NYSC Official in the North 60k, more or less to redeploy – See, if anyone promises to help you with your redeployment by bringing a certain amount of money, my brother/sister, you are on your own! No one in that camp can pull a string for you putting a cash clause on it. I know this woman, fair and tall that helps with redeployment in Kebbi cos that’s her office and maybe you know the State Coordinator again; he probably wouldn’t even ask you for money if you really do know him that much. Anyways, shine your eyes and also, I’ll do a proper post about redeployment before the end of camp.

The Executive Governor of Kebbi State, Governor Atiku Abubakar Bagudu during the camp closing programme (Dakingari, 2016).

10. There are no ATMs in Dakingari unless there is now. So if you must use the ATM, it’s advisable that you use it at once. There are people who make money off ATM users at maami! They bring their POS and then you transfer the money to their account; they give you cash and deduct it. This is what I mean, there is a charge for every 1000 withdrawn. Take for instance, if you need 5k, you either transfer to the man’s account with 737 (to my gtb users) or use his POS with your card. Then he’d give you 4,500 cash. It means for every thousand, he’s taking a hundred naira. Some charge higher and it definitely would have increased now. So just try not to use it every now and then. They’ll still pay you your 1,500 bicycle allowance and one other palasa allowance like that on camp; I think it’s like 2,500 cash you collect during camp except now that they are using bank to pay the first allowee cos I collected mine in camp; my first 19,800.

Dear Northern Otondos, do not give any NYSC Official in the North 60k, more or less to redeploy. If anyone promises to help you with your redeployment by bringing a certain amount of money, my brother/sister, you are on your own! Click To Tweet

That’s it for today. I hope someone has found this very useful.

PS: I didn’t see reasons to talk about certain things because people are already on their way. So, it would be pretty useless to talk about what to bring and not to take to camp.

Above all, dear Northern otondos, try not to think about Fulani Herdsmen; nothing will happen to you! You left your parents’ home in peace, you shall definitely return home in peace and please, do have maximum fun in camp! There’s a lot of fun too in the Northern State, and to my Kebbi Kopas (that’s how we like to call it), look beyond the distance and try not to come up with fabricated ailments as reasons to leave. Kebbi is one of the peaceful Northern States in Nigeria and that’s not just to make you stay, it’s actually true.

Read this: Half Day at Camp (Dakingari 2016)

Have a lovely camp experience!

Have you been posted to North? What part of the North? Has this post helped you in any way? Do you still think you will redeploy or stay? Have you been enjoying your stay so far? Any Camp Experience? Do share with me by leaving a comment in the comment box. I want to read from you and respond to you!

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Hugs and Light,

Ibukunwrites.

 

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Feminist with unconventional thoughts . . . an everything art, literature, daily living and lifestyle world with enough faith toppings. Sometimes, the toppings are everything. Here, you give in to your cravings, get satisfied, crave anew and stay addicted.

2 Comments

  • Debs

    Coming from someone who served in the North(Zamfara), scratch that, camped in the North cos I redeployed, I agree with all you’ve stated. Although, I do not know much about life outside camp but from my friends that stayed back, I learnt network was a mess, ATM and banks are luxuries.

    They hardly made Northern food at the NYSC kitchen but if you are not one who is used to eating out, you may want to hold your flagyl cos their cooking style is a bit errr…

    And hold enough cash for Maami.




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