Wednesday, February 29, 2012

NYSC Anthem and Morning Drills - VIDEOS!

Yay, two postings back-to-back! I'm on a roll... and still waiting for my "FRIEND" so I can post according to plan.

Anyways, I realized that a lot of readers might not know the NYSC anthem - you'll DEFINITELY not know if you haven't been through the NYSC process. So... I searched on Youtube for a video and found this...

Kinda funny video, but I wanted a video that had a sing-along with it - I couldn't find one so I'm doing the honors. Introducing Berryonce's rendition of the NYSC Anthem!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *clears throat*

Lol! I hope you enjoyed that. You know how the lyrics include "Under the sun or in the rain...?" Well, we literally had to stay in the rain once during camp.

And my final video is a compilation of short takes from the camp morning drills. Part of the early morning activities includes dancing and singing Man 'O' War call and response songs. Honestly, I'd never had to sing so much pidgin in my life, but it was all in good fun!


Ok, it's 1:35am. Now I'm definitely going to bed.

MUAH! Until next time darl'ns!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Place of Primary Assignment...

Hello lovelies!

I sincerely apologize for not updating in a little bit - I seem to apologize with every post lately. I'll tell you who to blame when I finally post what I really wanted to. But since I'm tired of waiting for my friend (using the word 'friend' loosely here until he gives me what I want), I'll go ahead and give a little more insight into NYSC. I realize that the 2012 Batch A corpers are getting ready for Orientation Camp starting next week, February 6th. I'll go over getting your Primary Assignment and Community Development Service sorted out, so you have the information before you start camp.

PPA - Place of Primary Assignment

This is the second phase of your NYSC year. After three weeks of orientation camp, corpers are supposed to spend the next 11 months gaining work experience at their respective places of primary assignment. Now, seeing as us aje-butters would rather not get stuck teaching or working in some random office, what you should do is

  • Secure a couple of companies that will guarantee you a position if NYSC does post you there
  • Get a letter from your company of choice stating your NYSC Call Up Number (not sure if your State Code is needed as well) and saying that they are looking for corpers and want someone with your educational background to serve with them
  • Ensure that the position you're aiming for has something to do with your first degree - For whatever reason, NYSC officials say that what matters in posting you to a company is your first degree. They basically told me to shove my MBA where the sun don't shine *rolling eyes*
In my experience, the way things worked were - corpers could get request letters from companies that they wanted to work for, submit them to NYSC; in turn NYSC officials would get you an official posting letter to that company. Now, I must warn you, 
  • it is not enough to simply get a request letter from the company you want
  • neither is it enough to get even the official posting letter from NYSC
Why do I say this? Because NYSC can post you to your father's company, and if your father has decided he doesn't want you working for him, then you'll get a rejection letter and have to start scrambling to look for another potential place of primary assignment. I saw more than enough people rejoice over getting posting letters to oil companies and banks, only to be rejected by those companies because they didn't have someone on the inside helping them out. We got out of camp in December, it's almost March now and there are still some corpers who have not found a place of primary assignment that will give them an acceptance letter. 

What really saddens me about this whole thing is that back in my parents' days, they literally had multiple offers and options from different companies and government ministries. They could sit back, relax, and go with the highest bidders. And now, most corpers are scrambling and getting stuck performing the most mundane tasks in offices that don't want them! Only God can help this country, f'real.

Back to the PPA process... you collect your posting letter on the last day of orientation camp. The rule is that as you leave the camp grounds, you should head straight to your PPA to submit your posting letter. The earlier the better, because some companies processes are longer and can take up to a month to finalize. Some companies will ask you to go for medical tests; some will interview you; some will administer aptitude tests, etc. If all goes well, you will receive an acceptance letter, which you should make a few photocopies of (also make photocopies of your posting letter as well).

When you receive an acceptance or rejection letter, you're supposed to report to your LGI (Local Government Inspector's) office to either register there or ask for a new posting letter. At this juncture, you will realize that the stress of camp DOES NOT end in camp. It continues for the next 11 months, once a week. Mentally prepare yourself for the coming year.

*I have a nice PPA, thank God. However, it almost didn't happen cos the lady in charge of giving out acceptance letters got ticked off at me because she said I didn't personally call to thank her for her efforts in getting me in. I had to swallow my tongue and craft a very lovely apologetic text to her after she hung up on me - she really did hang up on me (Nigerians and the rampant bad attitude!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). Word to the wise - now's another time to put your 'sucking up' skills into practice.*

I think I've sufficiently covered this portion of NYSC. Oh, I must mention that some states (e.g. Rivers) make ALL corpers teach... I'm just letting you know, in case you were thinking of serving there.

Gotta run. I have CD tomorrow 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Why I came back...


I know I said I'd write about random facts/experiences about camp in my next post, but I've changed my mind. Instead, I'll give you a little insight as to why I decided to come back to Nigeria, after being away for half of my life. Here goes...

One day, long long ago, in the distant land of Atlanta, a BERRYFUL princess decided she'd move back to the land of her ancestors, to meet, fall in love with, and marry the tall, dark, and handsome man of her dreams. She came, she fell, she married...and they lived happily ever after.


So the true story is I left Nigeria as soon as I finished secondary school in the mid-late-90s. When I left, there wasn't really a plan to come back here or stay in the States. I was just going to university and would figure things out as time went on. Well, I finished undergrad, worked for a year, started on my masters, graduated and then...the itch began. This feeling of restlessness. At the time that I finished with my masters' degree, the recession had just begun and unemployment rates rising throughout the country. As someone who detests lazying about at home for indefinite periods, I had to start making backup plans, in case I didn't secure a job within a few months. At this time also, a lot of my peers were moving back to Nigeria - the reverse brain drain. So, I started to think about it - purely for career/employment reasons. However, just a month shy of my self-imposed deadline to finding a job, an opportunity dropped in my lap out of the blue. 

I wasn't passionate about the work I was doing, but it paid my bills and then some, and I quite enjoyed a lot of it. However, it was a small company and the opportunity for career advancement was severely limited. It was only a matter of time before the itch began again. Between 2010 and early 2011, I mentioned the idea of moving back to Nigeria to a few people. Most of the advice I got was inclined towards returning to Nigeria - although I must say, I think they had ulterior motives for wanting me back in Nigeria (What? Berry's almost 30 and unmarried? Come, we must find husband for her... *blank stare...and then rolling eyes*)

About a year ago, I was browsing online, looking for open positions in Nigeria - I needed a feel of what kinda opportunities were out here. Alas! I found an opening in the city where I grew up (I'm a Port Harcourt girl o *Duncan Mighty, we need a remix for the ladies). I was able to secure an interview and fast forward 2 months later, I had a job offer and they'd let me do NYSC with them. That was the easy part.

Making the final decision as to whether I would actually get a one-way ticket back to Nigeria was considerably harder. I had to think several things through, such as...
  1. I had a very comfortable life in the States. 
  2. Most of my family members live in the States.
  3. I had a pretty good job with an okay income.
On the flip side though...
  1. My pretty good job didn't have room for advancement. Would I really want to be doing the same thing for the next 3+ years?
  2. Staying in the States would have been fine and dandy, but would I want to ask myself 5 years down the line "What if...?"
  3. Truthfully, I wasn't sure what direction I wanted for my life, so I was looking for a break.
And so after praying, fasting, seeking advice, and gathering my thoughts and feelings, I decided for myself that I'd come back for at least 1 year. My reasoning was that I could come back to Nigeria, survey the country and opportunities, and make an informed decision as to whether I'd stay or run back to the States. If I was going to stay for at least one year, it only made sense to enroll in and complete NYSC. In addition, I'm not 30 (OLD) yet, and if I was going to do anything flighty, challenging or reckless, now was the time to do it. In even more addition, as a single gal, I had nobody tying me down anywhere and I could afford to do anything I wanted for ME, MYSELF, and I! 

As I type, I've been back for about 8 months (time flies!). The job I was offered in PH didn't quite work out. My immediate supervisor reneged on allowing me to do NYSC and keep the job, so I deferred my NYSC start date to Batch C, 2011 (big mistake if you ask me, but oh well). At this point, I'm more inclined to return to the States after I finish NYSC in November. However, I'm keeping an open mind. After all I have another 9 months left to make my final decision. Who knows, I might even move to Italy, Spain or New Zealand afterwards - my random dream places. 

My advice to anyone who's wondering whether to come back or not would be:
  1. You MUST have an idea of what you will be doing or what you want to do in Nigeria before you come back. 
  2. You should make a few trips back to get a feel for life in Nigeria. Christmas, Easter, and Summer holidays don't count. Everyone's partying and having fun at those times and that's not what life is like on a constant basis.
  3. You MUST have a support system - whether it's family, friends, or "connections." Nigerian life is mostly about who you know and what they can help you with. 
And this, my friends, is where I shall conclude my post. Wishing you a berryful Valentine's day ahead! Feel free to send cake and ice cream my way.

xoXO (little kiss, little hug, BIG KISS, BIG HUG)


Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of NYSC Camp...

It's been FOREVER and a DAY!

I'm sooooo sorry I haven't updated in a while. I'd like to say I've been working very hard, or playing very hard, but those would be lies. I'm back anyways, so let's learn some more about NYSC!

The Good

  • For the vain people - the camp paparazzi! Well technically, they aren't the paparazzi, just photographers who stalk you all day, every day, imploring you to pose prettily and smile for the camera. For those of you aspiring socialites, models, actresses, and celebs, now's the time to practice your "Smizes." (If you don't know what smizing is, kindly open a new tab and google it) Anyways, unlike celebrities, you have to pay for these pictures. Each picture can cost N100 to N200 each. There were reports of people paying for up to 50 pictures in a single day, which makes no sense to me cos it's not like there were wardrobe changes.
  • New friends! The truth of the matter is, you shouldn't go through camp alone. In my situation, I knew not one person going into camp at the same time. My buddy who I'd planned to start NYSC camp with conveniently forgot to bring his original diploma from The States. Anyways, after the first day or two of being mostly by myself, I noticed a young man sitting by himself looking as miserable as I felt. So I struck up conversation, and what-do-you-know, a "foreigner" just like me, YAAAAAY! We spent pretty much everyday for the rest of camp hanging out for at least an hour trading stories about our days. The point is, there are THOUSANDS of people in camp. You can find at least 3 people that you have something in common with. Be open-minded and smile at someone.

The Bad

  • Anything that will have you standing in line - e.g. registering on Day 1/2, signing up with a CD (Community Development) group, collecting your allowance, filling out the Book of Life (this is a notebook with all the campers/corpers' information - name, address, etc), getting food if you're eating the camp-provided fare, fetching your bucket of water, etc. Just be prepared to wait in line for EVERYTHING. I'd like to tell you that this part is over when you leave camp, but again I'd be lying... Wait until you have to go to your designated NYSC Local Government office. Think of the camp lines as training for the rest of the year :)
  • Naked people. Honestly, they might as well just call this a semi-nudist camp. When it's time to take your shower, there are more than enough boobies and butts of all shapes, sizes, and varying degrees of firmness, in your face. And unfortunately, your boobies and butt will be in someone's face too - you gotta shower and there isn't a privacy. I had a really weird, uncomfortable experience one day. I went in to take my bath, and two seconds later, this huge lady comes in to bathe as well. I'm one for privacy so I basically kept my eyes averted and head down. But from the corner of my eye, I could see this chick watching me. She was bathing, yes, but staring at me. Ewww! Before anyone could say 'Jack Robinson' I decided I was clean enough and BOUNCED! 

The Ugly

  • The bathrooms... *insert BB grossed out smiley here* I shudder at the memories. For starters, have you ever heard of a 'pit bucket?' Yeah, neither had I. Let's just say some ladies (not sure about guys) had buckets for the sole purpose of relieving themselves (that's the least disgusting way to put it). Woe betide you if you go in to take your bath just before someone decides she needs to do her business at the same time. No matter how hard you try to not look in that general direction, just the thought that bowels are being emptied around you will almost force you to re-bathe 10 times in a row.

Oooh, now's as good a time as any to show you pictures of the bathroom closest to my room. Be warned: it doesn't look pretty!

To think these pictures were taken on a "decent" day. Ugghh, I feel nauseous looking at the pictures again *runs to take a bath*

I honestly can't continue with this post after these pictures. My next post shall be on "Random Facts/Experiences from NYSC Camp."