Hearing it was finally time to serve my country was one of the best news ever after studying Biochemistry a 5year course for 7years all thanks to ASUU and Covid-19. I was so nervous on the Sunday the call-up letter was released because I wanted to know how far I would be posted, but luckily Lagos state chose me. With so much excitement, I was eager for Friday my report day. I really wanted to experience what orientation camp felt like of course, I have heard stories good and bad.
Finally, It was Friday morning and I was ready! Getting to the gate of the camp my heart was beating really fast not knowing what to expect. I knew it was going to be three weeks of paramilitary training and a regimented lifestyle so that made me nervous.
At the gate, there were different sales persons trying to take advantage of everyone. With many people trying to advertise their services: You will need red background passport photographs, you’ll need this you’ll need that and it’ll be more expensive inside rented the air. The strong girl in me told them not to worry luckily I didn’t need any of what they wanted me to buy. Happy I was able to save 3k for my passport and all.
The registration process took almost a whole day due to the population of people. I was glad it was easy to get through.I got my hostel number and moved to my room, dragging my heavy box to the second floor all by myself. Trying to settle in my room was a bit complicated as I was told there was no space for me. As I wondered what to do, then a woman came to my rescue even though she was a bit aggressive at first but she came through for me.
I met Olayinka, my bunkie, and my first friend in camp who wanted me up but I told her she wouldn’t want to have the experience of me falling on her in the middle of the night. We went sampling different food treats and I thoroughly enjoyed every bit with her.
Getting my registration sorted out and started to enjoy camp proper.
Parade time, was exciting and tedious at the same time, I didn’t mind though because I had planned to enjoy every camp activity.
It was some minutes after 4am and I heard the sound of the beagle which woke me up for the morning parades. Soldiers and every other officer came into the hostel shouting “everybody gets out” and trying to get everyone to the parade ground. Parades were the time for morning devotions, morning meditation which I represented my group, the drill, OBS news, and some other things.
Parade times were awesome although stressful but what will I gain if I don’t enjoy every moment. I looked forward to parade time because I was motivated for some of my platoon guys to enjoy and participate in the parade 😂
I was in the best platoon,platoonb 6. There were six platoons, and trust me we were really the best, we were always in 1st-3rd position in competitions. I participated in my platoon by cheering everyone up during the performance 😂 funny right? I didn’t want any rehearsal to disturb my afternoon siestas but I joined the match past and my platoon came second.
I can’t forget the first Sunday night I went to get a cocktail and there was this guy singing I need Igbo and shayo (Burna boy last last), I immediately told him I sell and he was so scared then said it’s your heart I want to buy instead and that’s how we became close buddies. Olayinka left after swearing in and Emeka was there to keep my company always. I made a lot of friends from all over the country, which is the essence of the service.
Female hostel room 33 girls are wonderful people, hostel was always fun. Those babes are full of vibes.
The man o’ war drill is one experience I love so much. I did all the drills leaving no stone untouched and I’m happy I did. Believe me when I say I’m a strong lady.
I had to work in the kitchen the two times my platoon was on duty and I enjoyed it, serving the corp members, and picking beans and all was fun to do.
Interestingly I enjoyed my SAED training (event planning and decorations), it was one of the moments I looked forward to in camp. It was filled with fun people and a great tutor.
Social gatherings at night sponsored by munch it, lush hair, etc filled with artists like Zlatan, Lyta, and many others were events I won’t forget in a hurry.
Unlike the other stories I have heard about soldiers, this was different. The soldiers were friendly although still maintaining discipline, I had a female soldier dress me for my swearing-in ceremony and some night some came to the hostel to chill with us. On the parade ground, the soldiers were fair too, my platoon soldier was so jovial which made everyone cooperate well.
I can’t talk about my experience in the camp without talking about my food source, the mammy market. The first week everyone was trying to market their stuff, I won’t forget the lady always Adverting “enter Shoprite, your mini Shoprite here American water sister buy “ 😂. Different marketers sell food, dry cleaning, and phone charging. I had about three food plugs where I enjoyed my meal, one plug for charging my power bank, and one plug for dry cleaning my clothes. Prices for everything were relatively fair and made it easy to live a comfortable life.
It was 3weeks of crazy-sweet experience. I made so many friends, male and female but I realized I had to wake up the next morning not wearing the white on white with them and it was indeed a painful thing because we were all fond of each other. Everyone hugged, took pictures, and all just said farewell. I personally made videos of everyone who made my camp experience fun and memorable. I made a reel from them. I miss them so much. I wish I could go back to camp but of course, I have to move on to the next phase. The camp was really fun. For now, it’s the primary assignment