When I stepped into Kaduna camp and walked past the sarcastic smiles of the military men, the first things I noticed were sand and dust. They were everywhere. I had worn black shoes with white soles and by the time I made it to my hostel to drop my mattress and box it was already brown.
My friend Jonathan and I got a bunk by the window. We would later realize the mistake we made because temperatures got really low at night. But in the meantime we headed back out with our documents to start registration. And the wahala began.
We joined a very long queue that curved around trees which even made it look shorter than it was. The line led into a hall and they allowed people in sometimes 5 at a time sometimes 12. We joined the line around 9am and it was 3pm before we entered the hall. I stood on that queue for 6 hours in tight shoes. I thought Jonathan would break in two because he’s very tall and skinny, no meat on his bones to give him any form of comfort.
We got into the hall excited to sit down but we couldn’t forget that we hadn’t even started registration. Misan and Favour were on a different queue for girls had gotten into the hall hours before us but they only got to the front of the queue within the hall minutes after we entered.
We would get some photocopies signed an hour later and by 4:30pm we were on another queue. Misan and Favour would come and tell us they were calling it quits. They said they would try tomorrow and instead of us to follow them we formed bahdguys. We were on that queue for additional 2 hours before the entire queue descended into chaos. Jonathan and I left there by 9pm Thursday night after going nowhere.
On Friday after waking up by 3am we were back on the queue grind by 7am after parade. Friday was worse because it was more chaotic and the line was going absolutely nowhere. I hadn’t eaten in 24 hours, Favour was sick and by the end of the day Misan would land in the med bay.We left the registration hall by 10pm that night. Did we accomplish anything on Friday? Absolutely nothing! 48 hours and I hadn’t eaten. I didn’t even feel hungry.
It was also on Friday Misan, Jonathan and I got a glimpse at one of Favour’s amazing talents. Favour can sleep in any position without nodding. I mean she’d just keep her head and no matter the position or how long she dozed the head would never move. She would benefit so many undisturbed dozes in camp with that thing. For some reason we could never learn it, especially Misan who was almost running mad because of her high levels of energy and not enough sleep. She says it’s boring teachers plus 4 years of practice that perfected the art of the nod-less sleep
By Saturday, most people had been registered so it wasn’t as crazy. We eventually finished it despite the fact Jonathan had now replaced Misan and Favour on the sick bed. But some of us didn’t get NYSC kits because they had finished and had to wait for resupplies from Abuja.
By Sunday we got our white on white and khakis and all our excuses for escaping parade went out the window.
Everyone had fallen sick except me and I was feeling pretty healthy. Till cold, catarrh, cough, sore throat and cough would slap me at the same time. But that’s another story. In the mean time the Soldiers were yelling
“BY THE LEFT…QUICK MARCH!!”