MY NYSC CAMP EXPERIENCE IN OBUBRA, CROSS RIVER STATE

Hello everyone.
I have been at the NYSC Orientation Camp in Obubra, Cross River State for the past three weeks. And it felt like it wasn’t going to end. For readers outside Nigeria, NYSC means National Youth Service Corps. It’s a compulsory one-year service- every Nigerian graduate is required to serve in any state of the federation they’re posted to. Think of it as a mandatory civil draft. The NYSC scheme was created in a bid to reconstruct, reconcile and rebuild the country after the Nigerian Civil war.


I got my posting letter on the 19th of January. I had mixed feelings about being posted to Cross River State, particularly after hearing that the orientation camp was a long four-hour journey from the city. I arrived Cross River on the 23rd of January and stayed over in a friend’s house.
We set out to the orientation camp on the 24th of January. The journey lasted for about 3 hours 50 minutes. The roads were bad, but the having friends around made the trip more enjoyable-we sang along to the great songs playing on the car stereo and took pictures.

I had heard tales of frog jumps and carry-your-box-on-your-head orders. But I thought my friends were exaggerating. To my horror, the stories turned out to be true. On arrival at the Orientation Camp, the soldiers made us carry our boxes- and yes; on our heads! After the ordeal, I had to get registered and hustle for a good bed space. The registration was arduous, to say the least- we moved from one long queue to another. I did get it done eventually, and my friends and I headed to the Mami market where they sold all kinds of stuff, including food and drinks. 

-Mami market

NYSC provides three meals every day for all corps members, but the lines at the kitchen were never encouraging. We headed back to the hostel and queued up yet again to get water to have our bath. It was a long day.

The next day, we were awake as early as 3 a.m. so we could get water to have our bath. Then we had morning meditation and after that the parades, drills, and lectures. There were short breaks in between for food and sports. I escaped quite a number of parades; yes. I am Diusor after all. My best part though, was the early morning Man ‘o’ War drills, mostly because of the great songs we sang. This went on for 21 days. And oh, we were always dressed in our all-white top and shorts. The day I had the most fun in camp was the day of my Man ‘o’ War activities. I like to think that I’m adventurous, but surprisingly I was a little scared. I still laugh at myself whenever I remember that. I also participated in platoon activities. I served on kitchen duty, did some cheerleading, and represented my platoon as the Carnival Queen.


-Winning platoon 4 on  kitchen duty

Many people say camp is fun, but that wasn’t exactly my experience. There were days I cried and wished it would all just end. The water in Obubra is quite hard, so my skin reacted to it. The dust was an issue for me as well. And I found the camp activities quite stressful too. Plus, the toilets weren’t even in the best state. But then again, I guess it’s all part of the experience- NYSC is a once in a lifetime. Still, I won’t deny that I’m relieved that orientation camp is finally over. The one thing I am grateful for is the few people I connected with in camp. In their unique ways, they helped make my stay at the camp worthwhile. I look forward to a great service year!

If you ever get posted to Cross River Obubra Camp, here are few tips/advice from me:

  • Travel Light! The soldiers might also tell you to carry your box on your head just like they did to me
  • MTN is the major network that works in Obubra. Be sure to go with an MTN sim!
  • Leave your fancy white sneakers at home and save it for CDS days. Obubra has red sand so it is best to buy a white rubber shoe you can use in camp which is easy to clean.
  • Go with enough money but also be careful cause of theft.
  • If you have allergies with dust, make sure to get a report before going to camp as a result of the red sand in Obubra
  • Go with enough disinfectant, the water in Obubra is hard.
  • Join a group such as Red Cross, Band or Orientation Broadcasting Service (OBS) you would not have to do parades!
  • Be open to make friends with people as you would need good company and people that can make you laugh during the hard times.

Feel free to leave a comment, like and share the post.

Yours,

Diusor

 

I am Diusor Odiakosa, a Sociologist by qualification who is in a Long-term relationship with Travelling and Exploring! Currently I am on a goal to visit 25 States in my Country; Nigeria before I turn 25! while still exploring other parts of the World. I love beautiful things, places and people. This travel blog is where I share all my stories, photos and experiences from my journey as well as tips and travel informations that I hope you find interesting and handy. Feel free to say hello at : [email protected]

37 Comments

  1. I’m just laughing cos I remember the snap of Diusor doing drills and she was shouting “mummy o” ??happy for you that it’s all over ??‍♂️

  2. Good read Babe,
    I’m happy it ended well. Actually, no camp is fun to be unless you create fun out of it.
    Its just amazing how the government crafts out those location to make them NYSC camps. One will always have complains with the water, food and weather.
    Congratulations gul, I pray you enjoy your PPA

  3. This was a really interesting read. I literally laughed out loud reading it. Could relate with everything you wrote and it reminded me of my own camping experience. I also loved your honesty about the experience. I too, didn’t think NYSC camp was all fun at the time but looking back, I’m so glad I went through with it.

  4. I served there too, in 2014…funny enough I enjoyed it. Very interesting experience. You write well, I must say.

      1. Thanks for the write up, I’m go to the Same camp next week, I picked a lot from what you wrote. Now I’m prepared

  5. Where was it PPA
    Which LGA is good to serve, like a semi urban area, less expensive and close to main town like calls munucipal

  6. Good read!
    I am surprised to hear that it’s now a ‘permanent’ site. I was in that Iyamoyoung camp in march, 2011. Mine was the second batch to use that camp. It was in fact, just a secondary school-and the students were still in session while we used it! Let’s pretend Corp members didn’t sleep with the students. The actual Orientation Camp at the time, was being used by the Niger Delta Amnesty People. Batches before us had to get their orientation in other states.

    There were no toilets or bathrooms. We bathed outside. Literally. Ladies had to bath as early as 3am, which was terrible because right after the morning parade, your whites became dirty with the murky red color of the ever present dust. Guys didn’t send, we would wait till the parade ended then go to the back of our hostels to take a ‘shower’. A week in, the girls started coming to our ‘corner’ to have their baths. Reportedly, their corner had been messed up with sanitary towels and such and was no longer bearable. it was a common thing to see guys and girls bathe side by side late at night or at dawn. First time it happened to me, I was almost done before I realized the person bathing next to me was female. I almost jumped. (I am quite the shy guy).

    Many people slept outside in the cold as the hostels were not enough. I was lucky enough to get a bed, having arrived camp early enough. In my hall, there were 72 bonk beds, meaning that at least, 144 people slept there. that hall had only 2 ceiling fans which were hurriedly installed on the third or fourth night.

    The ‘Allowee’ at the time was 9,700. The conditions of the camp were so bad that each of us was paid an Inconvenience Allowance of 10,000 cash on our last day in camp-right after we got our 9,700-also in cash.

    I won’t even talk about the water-the shortages and all. On my first night, after toiling for hours, my bunkmate and I found water that was the color of watery tea-I kid you not. It was past midnight by then and I promise you, we were so dirty that we had to use the water. I doubt that the excessive amounts of disinfectant we poured in was enough to have any real effect.

    And the food? Horrible does not even begin to describe it! I have picture o. Too bad there’s no way to post them here. But find anyone who served in Cross River 2011 Batch A, and hear their story.

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