It all started when I heard the portal was open, I was so indecisive about camping anywhere, I was nonchalant about the whole NYSC thing I felt camp was over-hyped and the 1 year was a waste of life.
As a businessman, I was thinking of how much I would lose in those three weeks and how 21days in prison was going to be hell for me, then I concluded I wasn’t going to that camp, I rather use my time and do something better,amid this battle I was currently working on a leadership conference in Rivers state.
On the third day of this conference, pastor asked me Pastor Chris are you not going for NYSC? I laughed and asked has the registration not passed, he said let’s confirm.
We searched for places we could do the registration, finally got one.
It was time to pick the states I picked the first, Kaduna (always wanted to be there), picked the next Oyo,Owerri then the last Bauchi (let me just fill the blank space).
Then came the weekend for letters of posting to be printed, Sunday morning at 2am 😳😳😳 behold Bauchi! I immediately got up from the sweet cozy 6’4 foam laying on top a brown wood, I was sleep cut.
Finally, it was dawn, I picked up my phone started to behave like the town crier but actually, this time I was in real tears, messaged my brothers, they told me words of encouragement then my sister-in-law who immediately asked what the plan was but was scared of Boko haram(terrorist group), called mum; “the devil is a liar” was such a beautiful motivation from her and then daddy “sigh let’s see” was the reply, I remembered I missed the most important part (prayer) I immediately opened my mouth and said some prayers.
Monday morning came, the first call from no3 (immediate elder bro) have you printed your documents, I said I am almost done and I am out of cash, he said finish that.
Then my elder bro no2 also sent me some cash at this moment I was smiling, on getting home from collecting the document no3 sent me a message that my flight was for 4:30pm to ABJ as there was no direct flight to Bauchi, I had to start packing, plus I needed to buy some basics, I smiled and said thank you lord, I left for the airport this was like past 2pm.
I arrived at Abuja, on getting to Abuja I thought my misery was over waiting to collect my box and move.
After waiting for like 30mins, I had to go to the front desk, “sir my box, I can’t find it” I said, he made some calls then asked if it was a black box I said yes still noticing he was on the phone at that moment I knew “water don pass garri” he said “sir we are very sorry your box was left in Port-Harcourt and that was the last flight to Abuja can we get your address we would deliver it to you.”
The journey (Bauchi untold:Tales of 6'7)
On Wednesday the 11th of March which happens to be my birthday I surely had to be in camp that same day woke up that morning with messages, and calls then no3 telling me my flight was for 4pm to Bauchi I just knew that the birthday was going to be special.
On getting to the airport the flight was delayed for another 45mins, then another 30mins at this time I was frightened reasons been I have never stepped foot in Bauchi, I also heard the camp was far from the airport, I kept calm by past 6pm I heard a nice voice announcing all passengers on flight BMX 216 Airmax flying Abuja to Bauchi should proceed for boarding I hurried to the counter, on getting to the counter I met a beautiful damsel(queen from the west) lost in thoughts, trying to get her id card from her file bag she looked tense, I whispered to her ears are you going to Wailo (orientation camp), she immediately looked at me with a sigh of relief and said please you are going to NYSC camp also? I am with you.
We finally took off and really it was a fast one in 50mins we were at Bauchi, this was past 7pm, it was dark, I was scared, but I remembered a lady has her hope’s on me if she sees fear she’s going to faint, with my height I quickly surfed around for those that might be going to camp and in like 5mins I already gathered a community of 7, a chubby muscular boy (average writer), one boy wearing shorts(wild-card), another wearing native like we were going for a wedding(upcoming Nigerian artist) then a fair beautiful lady making us six we took cabs out of the airport.
The journey: part 2
The journey from the airport to Bauchi town took like 40mins but it seemed like 2hrs, then we were told we would have to take another cab to the camp, I asked how much trying to calculate the distance we heard 400 per person, and wow that won’t be far we echoed…
I sat at the front because I was the one who initiated the group movement, I was the one even collecting money, I also negotiated, least I forget I wore a blue kaftan when I was leaving home, that would be my escape uniform if they want to kidnap us I simply would just tell them I am their brother but I can’t speak.
As we embarked on the journey from the town to the main camp I was feeling bad,I hadn’t had a meal or a drink that day and it was my birthday, I whispered to the crowd it’s my birthday today nobody really cared they barely knew me and too into their thought as I was about to look into the screen of my phone a tired voice whispered happy birthday tall man I smiled, a few mins into the journey I asked the driver how many remain oga, he replied 30mins we all said thank God.
After 45mins I noticed someone was already furious and was hearing voices at the back saying tell him to ask him, then I simply replied I can’t speak Hausa I am from Edo state immediately I knew we had Yoruba colleagues because the “yeeeeeeee” sounded wonderful, we finally asked the man oga e still far when we noticed he didn’t understand the clock and he was like yes e far well at this moment we knew it was over.
Finally, after a 1hr 45 mins drive we saw something that looked like the gates of heaven with the Angels standing outside, immediately we rolled our boxes to the gate, then we heard a voice saying “share your selves, show us your credentials, open the box” then they searched and told everyone to enter, at this time it was past 9pm already.
Arrival (Bauchi untold:tales of 6'7)
After registration at the gate we were allocated to hostels but the person in charge of hostel accommodation told us to wait for the young man approaching (Kano man) we all turned to look at who was coming, he started his registration but his pen was not good I was jaded I offered him my pen voicing silently how can you be so un-serious not to have two pens.
We proceeded to the hostel where we found four-bed space and all close together, I was like we are complete not knowing the guy that met us at the gate already placed his stuff on the bed angrily I asked where is wild-card, but before we could begin the search party I heard a sound, at first I thought the lord was coming because the rush of footsteps that followed the sound described fully how the second coming will be like, then before I could ask them what was going on the next thing I heard “you will see winch in your dream if your light is on u will see trouble” then It dawned on me that it was lights out and I was hungry, thirsty, and angry.
It was a really cold night and I was pre-informed the place was very hot but then a very funny weather welcomed us that night, as I was about to start enjoying the sleep I heard a sound, it sounded similar(the annoying trumpet)to the one I heard the night before I thought it was a dream then I got a tap from one of the guys saying “it’s like they are calling us for the parade” I repeated “PA wetin”, this was 4am I could not cry but thank God we didn’t have to wear the uniform because we were not done with the registration so we proceeded to the parade ground with the clothes we came to camp in and our files with the hope that we would be sent back to the hostel as we haven’t done our registration but the opposite was the case.
One is an artist, another a confused awesome fellow, one loved to gym, the guy we meet at the gate automatically had to fall in the gang and he was kind of a low key businessman.
After the registration, we were asked to go to our platoon officer to get our uniforms I actually didn’t want to bother myself because I knew my size won’t be there but I said let me give it a shot.
I collected it then checked I realized that nothing actually fits down to the shoes, on getting to the store the man was sitting with some soldiers, as usual, they made fun of my height and asked if I had plans for the military I smiled and said “feun” meaning “na u sabi”, then the man asked my problem before I could finish he said I have seen your leg I won’t lie to you we don’t have your size in Bauchi camp but I will do something about the shirt, he was so kind, he gave me another shirt and told me to take it with the kaki I was given to the market and they should use the material to adjust the shirt and trouser, the soldiers immediately told me that hope I know am the tallest in the camp that I have become their guy automatically and if I misbehave they will catch me, I just could not cry.
After the evening parade, we all agreed to meet at Mami market to eat and that became our meeting area, the ladies got there before us, the fair lady, the frightened queen I meet when I was about to board then I noticed another ruby but she acted so disconnected from us I asked who the ruby (ex-fit fam) was and the fair lady replied she’s my friend.
Activities:Tales of 6'7
While preparing for camp a few friends advised I join the OBS crew so on my second day in camp after I got my uniform I looked for their studio, I was slated for auditions and interview, after the interview we were told to come and check If we were chosen, lucky me I found my name, I was not just chosen, when I taught they will take me to technical I was made an MC and I was made the host for the evening love show.
The camp became fun because I could always go to the studio during parade hours, I never planned on matching anyways, that evening was opening party as benefits of being in OBS I could climb the stage and not struggle like everyone, I hosted my first show the next day evening.
We were all shared to different platoon I was in platoon 6, on our first meeting as a platoon the platoon officer asked us to pick a nominate two persons as the platoon leader funny how I was nominated but I wasn’t picked, that evening the platoon was asked to pick a treasurer I volunteered as I was about to step out I saw a beautiful lady (foreign p.c.m) raised her hands that she would love to be the treasurer.
I backed out, the platoon leader whispered to me that the plan was to make me social director for the platoon.
After the meeting with the platoon, we were asked to contribute 400 for platoon activities, in a bid to speak to the damsel that was treasurer I immediately rushed with my money to pay on getting to her, my name is Chrisent and yours?….
The next day was Sunday after service we were all required to come to the parade ground the games began that evening, while the games were ongoing I tried to search for the new treasurer but she was nowhere to be found at the moment I gave up, the platoon leader working towards my direction, “tallest abeg I wan ask for a favor” was his statement, please can you keep the money that is collected from the platoon, without hesitation I said yes because this was going to make me the bank and the treasurer the banker.
At this time I made quite a few acquaintances and a group of friends who started to make camp interesting I began to enjoy camp, this was also when met content creator and discovered his sister was in my fellowship back home, the temperature became friendlier and we just wanted to do the countdown.
The next morning, as usual, we went to the parade ground for morning drill when rumors started to go round that we are to be dismissed from camp, something in me became very glad at the same time I started calculating what will happen to me.
We were directed to calm down eat breakfast and later in the day come for our posting letter, I and my friends all assumed we would leave camp the next day, but I still insisted we pack our bags before we could finish packing our bags we heard they are sharing posting letter, the next statement that followed, we all were to evacuate camp that day.
I almost cried because how would they expect us to leave in short notice, where were we going to, the camp is 1hr 45mins from civilization, we finally got a place… I just wanted to shower and lay my head.
Searching for a place to get a meal was difficult the guys were trying to be very safe so they said we should get anything from the junction, I was bent on eating good food I only had a very brave lady as my backup as she has been to Bauchi before I didn’t want to seem like the bad boy at that moment I remembered the low key businessman who I never liked initially and how he proved his boldness in camp, we initially had a dungeon as a hostel he went round found an empty hostel went to the camp commandant complained and had us move to a new and better hostel, he was made the hostel president and he made me collect money for hostel maintenance, the memory just flipped my head and I smiled although he was Hausa that would have also given me the courage to follow him in the search of the food…
The next day came and hell yea I knew I had to leave By 1pm I had to join the treasurer to the airport and our way we just couldn’t stop laughing how a one week experience was like a year and how stressful the one week has been.. by 4:30 the plane took off as It moved I started missing the town not just the town the amazing friends I had come to meet, then I realized I initially told myself the camp won’t be fun, I won’t make friends but the truth is that you never can tell.