As a Batch B corps member service year for me started in September 2006 to end sometime in mid August 2007. And these are the top ten things (listed chronologically not by importance) I won’t forget about my NYSC induced stay in Benue State. This write up is actually Kind of premature in timing considering the fact that I’m not yet done serving, but I still think the list would be the same even if I waited until after POP (Passing Out Parade: the official ceremony to mark the end of a service year) before writting it.
1 The 3 weeks Orientation Camp
What more can I say about this, I’ve already said it all here: “A September to remember”. In addendum sha the orientation camp in Gboko is definitely the most interesting place I’ve ever visited.
2 My Mum’s passing away
This happened 3 months into my service year and was the saddest part of it all. I still vividly remember the last (phone) conversation I had with her at the Zaki-Biam market right after I made my first trip to neighbouring Wukari in Taraba State; it’s a moment I won’t forget.
3 Getting my Laptop
My Dad got that for me 4 months into the service year. It’s the best quantifiable gift I’ve ever received…and it changed my life in many more ways.
I’m a softie at heart often falling In and out of “crush”. I got to know Bendra on the 1st of February. She, my phone pal now turned fellow corper kept me company many boring NYSC nights, particularly in February and March.
5 Becoming more Independent
NYSC being the cushioner before submerging into full blown adulthood it helped me become more independent as a person. Amongst other things I became cooking and job hunting certified and on another level Mum being gone and Dad being far away I learnt how to purposefully run my life.
6 The friends I made
Service year offered me the opportunity to make so many new acquaintances (a lot of them being people of my age) and have new perspectives on the behaviour of different people. Being that no man is an island onto himself that certainly was a big plus.
7 The Corpers lifestyle
Damn, it sure was good while it lasted. You know: the goodwill and respect showed to me because of my status, managing the allawee pocket change, my secondary school short teaching experience, the fallout with my employer, the partially ghosting months, my Ebonyi State corper to corper trip, my financial secretary portfolio, the community development service, our corpers’ week activities, my batch’s roundabout project runs etc. I’ll miss it all.
8 My increased Nigerianess (Tivness)
Service year made me a more complete Nigerian by my ten fold increased acquaintance with the Tiv ways. It’s during the time that I found out that I could be completely detribalized, and that’s after freeing my mind from the entire stereotype and bullshit our parents and elders instilled in us. I could be in a bus for hours and be the only one not able to speak Tiv and my mind would still be at rest…not feeling any uneasiness at all. On a lighter mode I can now distinctly recognize the Tiv accent. So if I’m out of the state and I hear a Benue man speaking I’ll most likely be like: “hey Dude you’re Tiv, how far now!”
9 Getting my mojo back on with the NIM exams
I’m talking about the NIM-NYSC Proficiency Certificate in Management exams. I studied, wrote and I’m sure will pass them well. It left me feeling personally fulfilled…you know erasing my procrastinating academic past and setting up myself for a glorious intellectual future. Of course my new found love for the library also helped in this revival.
10 Getting my Articles published in the NYSC 2006 Batch B souvenir brochure
Yep, two old blog articles of mine: “And time stood still” and “A day in the life of a Corper (Corps Member)” (this is still subject to confirmation though as the magazine is not yet out, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be good). I’m excited about this as it’ll be the first ever time an article of mine would be in print, although I’ve been countlessly republished online.
As an add-on if there’s one thing I have to say about the NYSC scheme it’s that for most participants it won’t likely be career and financially rewarding but engaging in the teaching (there’s a 9 in 10 chance of doing that for your primary assignment) and community development work under it is a life changing experience for the better.