NYSC Diary Day 10 – A Mother Hen Showed Me Pepper

November 23, 2020

A few months ago we began the NYSC Diaries, which covered inside life stories of NYSC in Nigeria. Stories like things NYSC corps members can relate to or what to do when you’re posted to a faraway place, like Borno.

A new NYSC batch has been called in for camp. So, everyday by 1:30PM for the next 21 days, one of our writers will be sharing his day-to-day camp experiences.

6:00 a.m. 

My alarm wakes me up and I get up and out of my bed. I need to be at OBS by 6:30 a.m. Who sent me work. I joined OBS to avoid marching and working, yet all I do in this place is march at work. I see my roommates and they’re all deep in sleep. It’s as if I should bring out a speaker and start playing heavy metal rock. When I’m sleeping, they will be arguing about meat. Now they are sleeping. There should be no peace for the wicked. I dress as noisily as I can. Somebody must wake up. Nobody does. 

6:32 a.m. 

Now I’m changing out of my mufti to wear my prisoner white on white. Today is Sunday, I’m meant to be able to wear normal clothes until 2:00pm, but I’ve just received a call to remind me that my platoon is on camp duty. It means that today, I’d have to either do camp sanitation, help in the kitchen, or do security duties. No more OBS. 

As I step out, I hear a sound beside me. I look down and I see that same chicken that attacked that woman last night charging towards me. Omo. I just begin to run like it’s two mad people and three lions holding guns that are chasing me. My phone falls out of my pocket and onto the ground. I look back. The chicken is still chasing me. How can you leave your children behind and be chasing me. Are you mad? At this point, I’ve run almost 30 meters (I measured it afterwards) and she’s still chasing me, looking angry as hell. I swear I didn’t do anything. I come to a sudden halt. My pouch is open and I spot my lip balm so I bring it out and try to stone her. She stops, looks at me for a few seconds and goes back to meet her chicks. I follow at a safe distance to pick my phone. The screen is a bit cracked. I look around. Nobody witnessed the events that took place. 

In fact, what events? What chicken? 

We move. 

7:00 a.m. 

They’ve just told us to choose where we want to work. I chose security. I chose security because nobody else was choosing it and I wanted to end the awkwardness, besides who will protect the people? 

Now they’ve given us red armbands and the DSP is telling us about our roles and duties and he’s basically saying that now that we’ve chosen security, we are part of security forever so even if we see anything wrong on other days, we should call him and snitch. 

Me I should snitch. Emi Don Corleone. 

Never. 

10:00

I’m considering calling my sister and asking if I was adopted. See how people are bringing food for their siblings and children as if food is finishing in the world and they have to quickly eat. The things I’ve seen at this security post. One girl even stopped to give us drinks and puff puff and buns while complaining that the food they brought for her was too much. Another girl gave us some expensive rich people’s chocolates. 

Security work isn’t so hard especially in a place with military strong protection from the outside. All we’re doing is checking people’s temperatures and making sure people wear face masks. When you throw in the occasional free food and the joys of bossing people around and creating a barricade between them and their loved ones (They’re not allowed near the gate. We search and then deliver whatever anyone brings for them), it’s actually a great job. 

2:00pm

I’m going to grab a drink. The weather is hot. I see my assailant casually hanging around. She’s eating with her kids. Nobody is walking with me so I decide to take a longer route. I’m not getting younger. There’s no point taking chances with my heart.

3:17 p.m. 

It’s getting boring now. I move closer to the policeman and we start gisting. Obviously I move the conversation towards #EndSARS to know what he thinks. It’s either he’s a really great guy, or he’s afraid of me, because he’s giving me FK Abudu vibes. He’s spitting facts and he’s super happy that the protests happened. He says he hopes it keeps progressing from #EndSARS to #EndBadGovernance. 

I like him. 

7:30

Today is the first time that there’s no social activity. I go to see my OBS Platoon 6 Hausa Teacher friend. She’s been admitted to the clinic. She was sick but she’s better now. She’s playing the guitar and singing and everyone is loving it so I tell her to teach me a few tricks. She does and I get it quickly. People are impressed. 

I’m leaving NYSC camp as a certified musician and security personnel. My price has gone up. 

9:30pm 

I’m fetching water outside when I look up on the roof of the building beside me. I see a few chickens. ON THE ROOF OF A HOUSE. HOW DID THEY GET THERE?

This is all the proof I need that the chickens here are all cultists. 

So yes, in the morning, I wasn’t running from a chicken. I was running from the powers of darkness. It all makes sense now. 

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