I've been getting a little offline feedback about the blog and I'm pleased that people find it informative, accurate and fun to read. You can also leave comments or questions at the bottom of each blog post, anonymously or otherwise.
So, it's time to face the actual arrival into camp. I'll split it into 2 posts as there's a lot to write. At this point, you should have mentally psyched yourself for the upcoming challenge... and it will challenge you to the very core of your butteriness!
There are differing opinions on whether you should arrive at your camp on the first day or come in on the second day. The advantage of getting there on Day 1 is that you're pretty much guaranteed a bed. The advantage of getting there on Day 2 is you spend one less day in camp, and the crowd is less than the first day (I think).
*NOTE* Regardless of what day you arrive in camp, you will sweat, you will stand in all sorts of lines, you will fill countless forms, you will curse the day you agreed to sign up for NYSC, you will come to realize that the 'S' in NYSC stands for STRESS; and a host of other unpleasant things. My advice to you is to pray for peace that passes understanding (AMEN to THAT!) and find/make a friend who will go through everything with you.
First things first: when you get to the gate, your bag(s) will be searched to make sure you haven't brought in any contraband (see previous post). They may also ask to see your Call Up letter and passport, so have them handy.
*I arrived on the second day. My aunt dropped me off and wanted to come in with me to make sure I settled in okay, but they said she couldn't come in with me, so I was completely on my own. I had to put on a brave face and keep my eyes and ears open. FYI, if you want to get anything done during your NYSC year, you MUST keep your eyes and ears open. Ask fellow corpers questions about what you need to do and in what order, otherwise you will be yelled at by any number of NYSC officials.*
Depending on what day you arrive, and what camp you go to, there might be a waiting list for beds/rooms OR you'll have to wing it and ask someone to secure a bed for you. I don't think they allot a bed to you until after you're done registering.
*Since I arrived "late" most of the rooms and beds were already taken. I was advised to leave my luggage by the dorms and go to complete the registration process. This is where I found a friend (well, camp acquaintance, as I saw her only twice after that day). She was ahead of me and seemed to have someone helping her out, so I quickly latched on.
This is where it starts to get confusing. Remember what I said about keeping eyes and ears open? The first thing you should do when you get to the registration point is look for anyone who's already filling forms and ask them where you should start. What you need to complete the registration:
- Call Up letter
- Passport photographs (if you took my advice from 2 posts ago, you'd have a lot left over from the Abuja NYSC Directorate registration point)
- Stapler/Hole puncher - Don't bring one in, because there are market women hovering around selling the use of their staplers and punchers. This is where having small denominations (N10, N20, N50) will come in handy.
*Unfortunately, I can't remember all the forms and in what order I picked them up - Sawry :( Again, just ask around. Here's where I began to lose touch with my new friend. We started the registration process together, but I finished at least an hour before she did. I figured out what forms I needed, filled them out quickly and accurately, and spent 30 minutes watching her while she tried to fill out her forms. Seeing that it was getting dark very quickly, and I still hadn't found a room/bed or gotten my supplies from the camp market (bucket, etc), I exchanged numbers with her and went to register with my platoon.
Next post will deal with the Platoon Registration and finally getting accommodation...