Diary of an Ibadan Girl: Entry 11
My life is a freaging joke.
Ask me why o! Shebi I was shouting that “Abuja ni o, Abuja ni o” when I was awaiting NYSC posting? Even when some people asked me and I answered them with so much conviction, they were thinking that I had it all covered. Me that my father does not know anybody, I was doing like Brigadier Kazaure’s next of kin. They’ve sha done their workst o. I am currently writing this entry from one camp in Northeastern Nigeria.
That morning when Omowonuola, one of my best friends had first woken me up with a ridiculous phone call, to tell me that she had finally decided to ghost (not participate) NYSC because there was no way in this world that she was going to stay in Sokoto to serve any fatherland. I had thought that she was overreacting. Ashey, it was because I had not seen my own posting letter.
Shey I still had flying hopes. When I opened my dashboard like this and saw that the orientation camp that they posted me to is located at something that sounded like Ile awusa like this, I first of all became weak. Because, to be honest, I wasn’t expecting it. Shebi when I was doing registration, I was even the one telling the man that did it for me to put any state in the other three spots as long as he had sha chosen Abuja for me first. I remember vividly that the man had asked me that day that, “Shey kin bayin fi eleyii si?” , “Should I select so and so state for you?” and I had answered yes because I believed the God that I am serving cannot betray me.
That was how I sha got posted to Yobe state o. Emi omo l’omo.
When I first told my mother, she could barely deal. I guess she was still quite vulnerable at that moment because of Grandpa’s recent demise. At first, she shouted, “Ah! Damaturu loun loun? Ta ni mo shey tori oloun?”, “Damaturu, that far place? Who have I offended oh God?”
She kept lamenting that even me that was going there gan-an had to start convincing her that everything was going to be alright.
Then I called my grandma but she didn’t pick. My grandma usually doesn’t pick until like the fifth ring. I’m always thinking about the possibility that my grandma may gradually be losing her sense of hearing but the fact is just that she keeps her phone inside a nylon bag. So she doesn’t hear her phone ring until someone points it out.
When I told her that that I have been posted for service, she shouted “Mo sh’orire o” which meant that she got lucky. She then told Aunty Iyabo (Aunty Iyabo is grandma’s late brother’s granddaughter that stays with grandma) to help her to call everybody at her shop that she’s not coming to shop that day because her granddaughter was going for service. In her words, “Omo omo mi nlo fun agunbaniro. A fe shey ipalemo”, “my granddaughter is going for NYSC. We want to make preparations”. That was actually pretty normal considering the fact that I am her first grandchild. I remember the time I had just gained admission into UI and my grandma closed shop for like a week and was helping me to fry meat.
We needed to stay safe so we told her I was going to Ekiti because they said they also wanted to break the news that her husband had died to her later that week. One breaking news at a time, Edakun.
Sekinat was the absolute worst person to tell. When I called Sekky to ask her how far about NYSC runs and what I needed to buy because she had already gone a year earlier ahead of me and so she knew better. My best friend was just laughing at me and kept asking, “Morenike, I thought you had connects? What happened to your connects now?” and other equally infuriating questions. It was kuku nobody’s fault.
Traveling to Yobe was actually quite hassle free compared to what I was expecting. I left for Abuja from Ibadan by bus. Then, when I got to Abuja, we had to sleep over before we now took another bus to Kano the next morning. It was when we got to Kano that we decided to stop over to eat. Instead of us to be going jejely. That was how those people went to bring rice and small small stones for us instead of the rice and beans that we asked for. I could barely touch it before those small small almajiri children came to drag the plate from my hand. Then, they went to eat it. I was just looking at them.
Eventually, we sha left Kano for Yobe o but before we got to Yobe, our driver went to pass one desert place like this. It was like a scene out of that “The gods must be crazy” movie and I could swear we were in Kuvuki land with the way little kids were running after our bus and waving happily at us. It was really nice seeing that our ordinary bus could bring such joy to their faces like that and for the first time since we began the journey, I felt like coming to Yobe may not be so bad after all. We spent like 30 mins at that desert place before the driver explained that he had made the detour because of VIO people. You can imagine.
Then, we finally got to Potiskum in Yobe before we now had to enter keke Napep that was going to take us to camp again. The 2-day journey actually felt like 83 days in my eyes. I was really tired when we eventually got to the school of business kini that they are using as orientation camp for us.
Although, there are no tarred roads and our rooms are secondary school hostel-like, camp here is not all of that bad at all because there’s light and water and compared to what I envisioned, the food is shockingly good. I’m really hoping to have a memorable time out here.