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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - corpers, make-up, Professor X, girls, UNILAG girls, LASU sisters, Kebbi, cool, camp, hot, platoon commandant

Part 1: My Life in Camp

Day 1
All the new ‘otondos’ as we were called were running up and down trying to escape the wrath of camp soldiers. After everything, the soldiers asked us to do frog jump for no just cause. I kept wondering if the punishment was for graduating or part of the training process. I mean, how logical was that? ‘Drop your bags and start frog jumping’ na wa oo!!!

Day 2
The cold in camp cannot be compared to the coolest Thermocool …dear Lord, I pray thee…for those that seek the coldest weather in Nigeria, send them to kebbi! They woke us by 4:00am and we did the morning rituals and even helped wake Nigeria up by 6 am. Little wonder the country is the way it is; maybe she is sleep-deprived.

These long lectures are so boring! I had to feign menstrual pain to stay back in the hostel. Lord, forgive me, but how can I stand the sun and cold at the same time just for some lectures I am not even sure I need. The last time I stayed for the lectures, I ended up looking for a comfortable place to sleep.

My meal ticket is still looking so neat and unused, I wonder when I will summon up enough courage to line up and actually use it. For now, aunty Ada in mami market is my best friend. The other canteens serve meals that look like left overs.

Day 5
I met this really fine bobo in camp. Let’s call him Professor X. He is nerdy and cool all at once. We talked for ages and he still didn’t ask for my number, did I say something wrong?

Professor X came out of nowhere and offered me a bottle of coke just because I told him the day before that my favourite drink is coca cola. He is that nice. He keeps looking at me and smiling…ok, I feel dizzy when he smiles, is it love, lust, infatuation or simply hunger and exhaustion from all the endless parades?

Day 7
Today, I saw Professor X with another girl in his platoon, they seemed happy together…am I jealous or simply acting childish over a guy? But I thought he was actually into me. Anyway, I didn’t come to camp to socialize so I rest my case.

Day 8
Today was the most embarrassing day for me in camp. My platoon commandant asked for my name. I told him Hope. He kept saying ‘wolfe’ like seriously? He should have just called me the wolf of Wall Street. After much correction, we eventually stuck with ‘hofe’ at least it sounded a bit like my name. They called my friend ‘faul’ instead of Paul…Dabid instead of David, I am sure you are also asking what they are bidding.

Day 9
Did I say anything about NCCF? Ok, it is the corpers’ fellowship for Christians. I found out most of the girls in my room actually prepared well for camp. The high heels and different Ankara designs I saw on Sunday made me wonder why I came to camp with just one black jeans and a dashiki shirt. I could have done better.

Day 10
Kebbi weather is always on the extremes. If it’s hot, your skin will roast…almost literally, and when it’s cold, you better dress like your Scandinavian brethren. Most of us had different colour patches on our skin. The parts covered with the compulsory shirt and short were a lighter shade when compared to the exposed parts. Not to talk of varying degrees of sunburn. If I ever doubted the effect of skin bleaching, my doubt was cleared. One aunty in platoon 6 had the worst reaction I have ever seen. She turned a mixture of purple and red, her skin was terribly discoloured and unpleasant to behold. Sisi as I choose to call her wasn’t even helping her ministry any further as she applied very heavy make-up to cover it up. I never ever call anyone ugly, but please you’d have to forgive me; her face was a disaster.

Day 11
Speaking of make-up, the rate at which every girl is now a make-up artist is alarming. Despite the Kebbi heat and the regimented time we were allotted, some sisters still found time to do bridal make-up. I am not kidding, you better believe!!!  Full bridal make over every single time there is parade. I give those sisters hand oh; always on fleek with eyebrows competing with Nike logo and lips glittering 10000 miles away.

Day 12
Today I had a very good laugh in camp. You won’t believe what happened. My platoon was called out for man o’war drill and we were supposed to climb over a wall made of hardwood. I scaled pretty well because of my weight loss anyway. Sisi was supposed to scale the fence when we all heard ‘thuuuurrrr’. I didn’t want to believe what I was imagining until I looked her way and saw that her khaki trousers tore from the middle (you know what I am talking about joor). If it had happened to any other person, I could have been more sympathetic but not towards Sisi! Hmmm, she slim fitted and tightened the khaki ehnnn, you won’t even remember its original style. It became high weight leggings, even the top was so tight she could barely raise her hand to wave. It served her right. We all had a good laugh. Our platoon leader gave her a big pullover to cover her shame.

Day 16
Yes, I haven’t had time to write lately…my eyes are swollen and my body aches very badly. Someone said I look like I am very ill…I am just sleep-deprived. They make us wait outside until about 9:00pm before sleeping. That would have been okay except that the UNILAG girls and the LASU girls would start another conference when it's bed time. Those girls...I will table their matter another day.

Day 17
About the girls who share my room. The room has 18 double bunks with 9 on each side. On one side are the LASU sisters…don’t mind me jare, they are always forming solidarity until one of them gets into trouble. They never go for parades and they are among the camp makeup artists. You know that make up box; no, not that size, the big one that can house at least two human heads. Yes! One of them brought it to camp. I mean! What for? They are probably the best example of communal living because they share virtually everything; I even heard one asking to borrow ‘breast tube’.

Anyway, at the other end are UNILAG girls. These ones know how to form sha. If they see their roommates outside and they happen to be with a guy, they must shout your name, if they don’t, they will get your attention somehow. They are either with the camp big boys or with the state coordinator’s team. You need to see the white shorts they wear; they downsized and redesigned theirs to leave nothing to imagination. They have this untold beef or competition among themselves. Anyway, I was in mami market the other day, when I saw one of them ordering suya. Hmmm! the soldier standing next to her who was supposed to pay for it was just smiling awkwardly. Maybe he was swearing at her in Hausa. His expression suggested something like, ’barawo’ (thief)…I just observe and I hardly talk because I am always here writing.

Day 18
Camp is gradually coming to an end and the way guys are hustling for chics ehn; you would just know in your spirit, end time is near. Today I heard about platoon 11. There are 10 official platoons in camp but the last one is illegal and cryptically known by a few, especially the guys. Well, I met professor X again today and we talked a bit. He told me platoon 11 is where soldiers and the big boys go to sleep with girls in camp. It is a small scantily furnished makeshift camp room. An hour is 500 Naira and if a client comes out within the hour, the client pays again to go inside. He showed me some girls he claimed his bunk mate has taken there. I kept wondering if he had been there, my heart sank just thinking of him sleeping with someone else.

Day 19
Today, all my toasters were calling like never before asking to meet during social night in the dark dining area. Well, I refused and decided to spend the evening calling my friend in Taraba camp; we talked and laughed exchanging stories of how camp life was. After the call, I was just sitting there like an abandoned child. I saw corpers in pairs talking, cuddling and fondling. I held my phone tightly and listened to Asa’s bed of stone.

Day 20
I started feeling like staying in camp. I didn’t participate in any camp activity except the compulsory ones. My platoon won the dance competition. My basketball team on which professor X and his friends played is what I will miss the most. Well, maybe I will miss professor X a little more than I can admit. He told me he had a girlfriend in final year but he isn’t feeling the relationship anymore, he asked for my advice on how to spice up his relationship. I gave him some tips but secretly prayed the relationship would end so that he would ask me out. How silly can I be?

Well, today was camp fire night so they allowed us stay out till after midnight. The air was cold and dense with emotion and romance. I even saw some couples having full blown sex in public, I mean! We should have small self-control or even pity the onlookers naaa. They weren’t even keeping it down, the girl was screaming like a horse, (God knows I don’t how a horse screams, that’s if they ever do).  I was with professor X all through that night. He got drunk a bit and asked to dance with me. We danced a little and he kept on pressing his body against mine. I should have been angry but I relished the warmth of his strong body against mine. He held me closely and whispered gibberish into my ear. I smiled thinking he said he wanted me badly. He pulled back abruptly and said goodnight. He left without another word. I walked to my hostel and cried on my bed without knowing why.

Day 21
Today is the last day of camp. I packed my bags and was ready to leave this place for good. Yesterday night wasn’t the best night although it seemed so at the beginning. I deliberately avoided professor X and kept my distance. I was with my platoon members waiting to collect our dispatch letters when someone hugged me from behind. I was ready to unleash the fury of hell on that person when I turned. Well, it was Professor X. He was smiling at me again with those queer glasses of his. He took me aside and told me he was going to miss me. I smiled weakly and didn’t say a word. He asked if I knew what he told me last night, and I told him what I thought. He laughed and told me that he told me thank you. I asked him what for and he said for allowing him to see how he could fix his relationship. He told me spending time with me made him appreciate his girlfriend miss X. he ended our conversation by saying that my man is lucky. He hugged me tightly and bade me a final goodbye.

Really? Thank you for helping him settle with his girl? That’s the worst insult…he should have just shut his mouth or something. Do I look like a helper or relationship fixer? Oh please!!

Deep down I knew he was right… but he looked like someone I could have been good with.

I was posted to a secondary school in Zagga, Bagudo local government area. I was hoping I would be going to Birnin-Kebbi. I look forward to the 10 months I’d be spending in Zagga, hopefully, I don’t get disappointed.


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Written by:
Hope Obamwonyi

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - corpers, make-up, Professor X, girls, UNILAG girls, LASU sisters, Kebbi, cool, camp, hot, platoon commandant
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