Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Happy Democra......BIRTHDAY TO ME JO!

It's my birthday!!!!!!

Ok, after all the noise, I'm actually just planning to sit at home and take it easy. No cake, no food, no celebration. But I've invited special guests Alex O and Evi-Edna to sing Happy Birthday to me :p

Monday, May 28, 2012

Vacay time!!! So you think you can travel...

Hola mi amor!!! Yes, you in particular *wink wink*

It's been a couple of weeks since I posted anything. Quite frankly, I'm running out of things to blog about - YIKES! I mean, it would help if I was willing to take and post pictures regularly, but I value my pseudo-anonymity. Well, I'm creative enough to randomly come up with topics, so s'all good.

Anyways, tomorrow's my birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm only half excited :( I had a terrible mishap on Friday that for NYSC propriety reasons, I must not speak about publicly. But it brings me to the topic of this post - Traveling during your service year. Now remember, I will never endorse breaking the rules - or confess to which ones I may or may not have broken. Let's just pretend we're all angels and abide by EVERY. SINGLE. RULE. Sound good? Ok, carrying on...

I'm pretty sure a lot of aje-butter (and non-aje) corpers plan all sorts of fun trips in/out of the state of deployment or even outside Nigeria. BUT did you know that you're actually not supposed to cross state lines during your service year? *insert BB straight face and say Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight* The reason why we're not supposed to travel is supposedly because corpers are regarded as 'Nigerian property' and our LGI (Local Government Inspector) becomes our guardian, for all intents and purposes. Imagine if you traveled without permission, and something bad happened to you... the LGI has to account for what happened to you and why.

Of course, there are rules in place for if you MUST travel, and the procedure is as follows:
  1. Confirm with your boss if it's ok for you to take a vacation. Mind you, corps members are allowed a 7-day casual leave throughout the service year.
  2. Write a letter of application for leave (and travel) to your LGI.
  3. If approved, next apply to your Zonal Director.
  4. If approved, apply to your State Coordinator.
  5. If approved, you may cross state lines. IF you are trying to travel abroad, you have to apply to the Director General of NYSC, via the Abuja office. Only the DG can give you approval to leave the country.
You must have compelling reason to want to travel - e.g. medical reasons (you must provide all sorts of evidence as to why you can't receive treatment in your state of deployment), convocation, immediate family crises, marriage (I think... although they might tell you to schedule your wedding until after serving), etc.

Now, I'm sure you can see that going through the process above to travel is tedious. Not only will gathering the necessary documents and going to the different offices be time-consuming, you might also run into all sorts of unnecessary comments, insults, etc. It's only in Nigeria where those who follow the rules are punished for good behavior.

I will not tell you what/how people (notice I did NOT say ME/I) flout the rules, but I'm sure you're smart enough to figure it out. And if you're not smart enough and run into trouble, then you don't deserve to go anywhere!!! And I say that in the nicest possible way :)

Hasta la vista baby! Yes, YOU in particular *kiss hug kiss, ewww remove your tongue from my mouth!*


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Style Post! NYSC Uniform

Hola amigos!

I had CD today, under a lot of stress and spent 10 minutes crying when I got home.

BUT before I left the house this morning, I decided to do an unplanned mini photo-shoot to "show off" the different NYSC looks. Since the pictures were self-taken, they're not the best, but wa'ev.

*btw, my camera fell during the shoot, so in addition to spa gift certificates, I'll also accept a new one for my birthday, which is in less than 2 weeks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*

While you're in Orientation Camp, you are required to wear white t-shirts, white shorts, white sneakers, and your NYSC cap. Below are 2 pictures - one from during camp, and one from this morning...

I almost always give the peace sign. 

On 1 or 2 [special] occasions during camp, you'll be required to wear the full official NYSC kit. This includes your NYSC crested vest, khaki trousers, socks, jungle boots, cap, and maybe the "jacket/shirt/wotever you want to call it" too. Again, two pictures below - one from camp and one from this morning.

During our Man 'O' War activity day

My trousers are ridiculously high waisted, but I couldn't be bothered to get another pair sewn. And I lost my hat AND crested vest during camp - or rather, they were stolen, so I had to buy a new vest before I left camp that's a little big for me.


For your CD days, you are supposed to go in your official kit sans the jacket. You can also replace your crested vest with a white shirt. I tend to wear my jungle boots cos I don't have energy to bleach and wash the dirt/dust-attracting white NYSC sneakers regularly.

So............... the next time I do a Style Post, I'll show how to "Go From CD Wear to the Office" or "From CD to Casual Day Out" or "Dress up your CD Outfit."

Adios amigos!

What's 'Berry' in spanish? Google Translate says 'Baya'.

Adios amigos!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Batch B 2012 NYSC Timetable

Hey you *insert BB flirty smiley*

I hope everyone's doing well, wherever in the world you are...

Just wanted to note that the timetable for the next set of corpers for 2012 (Batch B) has been out for a little while - kindly forgive me for not stalking the NYSC website to check.

The notable details on the timetable for Foreign-Trained Graduates are as follows:

April 2nd to June 4th - Registration in Abuja
26th to 27th of June - Delivery of Call-Up Letters to your state of residence's NYSC secretariat
July 2nd to 23rd - Orientation

For the full timetable, click here - NYSC Batch B Timetable

Also click here - for NYSC 2012 Service Year Facebook Page

For my previous post on the Registration process and a list of the required items and documents, click here - Registration Process of Aje-Butters

Something to remember, corpers are being sent to serve in the following sectors: Health, Education, Agriculture, and Infrastructure.

Erm, that's about it.

Ttyl + xoxo = C u berry soon!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Spotlight - Benue State Corpers in Action!

Hey pretty ladies and handsome fellas!

Today, I read this article on Bella Naija. I know just a couple of posts before, I was knocking the premise of NYSC CD groups for mostly just sitting around and doing nothing. Well, the article I read was a breath of fresh air and shows that NYSC, if organized properly, can have a positive impact on local communities within Nigeria.

It's a long article, so I'll briefly summarize here.

Who: Nigeria Christian Corpers Fellowship - Benue Chapter

Where: Nongov Community

What: Nongov Community Primary Health Centre Project


  1. Building blocks of classrooms for the under-served local children. Currently, there is one teacher (a Nigerian missionary) for 450 children. A set of three classroom blocks has been completed through the efforts of a Batch A 2012 corper, Oyediran Igbagbosanmi. Another set of classroom blocks is currently being undertaken by another corps member, Chika Faith. Other corpers have volunteered to teach for a few weeks at the school. 
  2. Provide health care awareness to the indigenes, basic medical supplies, build and equip a 10-room health care center, train a number of local health care workers to facilitate medical care, etc. In the long run, there are plans to initiate a health insurance scheme, provide an ambulance for emergency transfers, and a community trust fund to promote sustainable development in the area.
If you would like to get more information and help out by sending donations, the link to the article is HERE.

Kudos to the young men and women involved in this project. I hope they are duly rewarded by the Nigerian government.

Truth be told, seeing their story makes me feel a bit awkward cos all I'm doing for my CD is helping myself. Well, it's better than doing nothing, right? And check out the fan we made today!

Honey nut cheerios!

Berry :)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Perk #1 of being a corper... CAN'T TOUCH THIS!

Buon giorno tutti!

I'm sure you read the title of this post, and you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about. Well, I will explain through the telling of a VERY recent event in my life.

It was a Thursday, the day after Wednesday (obviously). I woke up feeling refreshed as the day before was my CD day, which meant no work. I showered (ooooooooooh *wink wink*), got dressed, had morning devotion with my host family, and proceeded to drive to work. I was ready to conquer the day, looking forward to compiling my weekly report - I actually do enjoy it. I got to the office, had a cup of cereal for breakfast, and my usual cuppa coffee... and just when I was ready to face work, I got the phone call.

Aunty: Berry!
Me: Hello. Yes, Aunty?
Aunty: You need to leave the office, go home and pack your bags, you are no longer in the running to become America's next top model... 

Just kidding! The real convo was:

Aunty: Berry!
Me: Hello. Yes, Aunty?
Aunty: You need to leave the office, go home and pack your stuff. 
Me: *silence*
Aunty: When you get there, you'll see.
Me: Erm, ok 

So I say a quick word to my supervisor because I have a feeling I know what's happening, and I get permission to leave the office. I drive home wondering what to expect. I play music on the way home to calm myself. And then I get to the house, and what do I see? Police and a whole bunch of random men in the house. I walk calmly in and ask where my aunt is, and they point me to my uncle, who breaks the news...

We're being EVICTED!


To cut the long story short, the house had been in dispute between my uncle's former employer and the house owner. The owner was given the go ahead to repossess the house, and we were caught in the middle and had to bounce. Within a couple of hours. With no clear idea where we would go. But at that moment in time, I had to go to my room and pack all my belongings, which I did in about 30/45 minutes. Just as I was getting ready to haul my stuff into the car, one of the court repo men came into my room. Mind you, they'd told my uncle that the normal process is to take EVERYTHING in the house to the court, and then separate personal possessions there. However, they were allowing us to pack our personal effects and would take only the things that belonged to my uncle's former employer. 

*Coming up next - the reason behind this post's title*

So the court repo man came into my room and started coming towards my suitcases, at which point I said,


Yes, my friends, the number one perk of being a youth corper is that you can't get arrested. So basically, I don't allow policemen or soldiers or whatever to harass me. I've been stopped a couple of times on the road at bogus check points, and the first thing I flashed was my NYSC ID card, along with a smile. It always stopped them in their tracks. 

Anyways, the court repo man was physically startled too and apologized, asking God to forgive him... I said I'd pray to God on his behalf too (lol, I can be such a troublemaker sometimes).

So yeah, we got evicted. But thankfully, my aunt/uncle were able to get a new place later that night, and we were generously given hotel accommodation for a few days, while getting the new house in order. 

And the moral of this story is...

I shall take my leave now. I need to relax after the eviction drama. Seeing as I've been through this, and it's my birthday month, I am open to spa day gift certificates in Lagos, PH and/or Atlanta. Thank you in advance.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My CD!!! Pictures included

I'm officially the worst blogger out there!!! I promised to continue my CD post last Monday, not this one that just passed, the other one, and I'm only NOW putting up the post.

Pleeeeeeeeease forgive me :( I'll buy you cake, ice cream, and shawarma!

Anyways, now that you've accepted my apology, I shall give you a look-see at what my CD's like.

During camp, several companies and organizations visited us, touting their businesses. These organizations were brought to us by the  JASA (Job Awareness and Skills Acquisition) Centre of NYSC. I'm not sure if this option's available outside Lagos, so you'll have to check and see for yourself.

What is JASA? 
As the name implies, this arm of NYSC is there to promote the learning of new skills and possibly bridging the gap between prospective employers and corps members (I can't confirm the second bit). In an interview with the Head of JASA, she also mentioned that an NYSC Job Research Portal was developed for corpers to search and apply for jobs (again, I can't confirm this). On the Skills Acquisition part, several businesses and firms have partnered with NYSC to teach various skill sets and courses at a heavily discounted price to corps members. Some of the skills include but are not limited to:

  • Bead design (which I'm doing)
  • Shoe making (I've seen some of the corpers work, and they were actually not bad)
  • Tailoring
  • Soap/Paint/Detergent making (different classes - I don't feel like listing them separately)
  • Wedding accessories (which I'm also learning)
  • Hat making
  • Events decoration
  • Make up/over classes
  • Catering
  • Microsoft Certification
The list goes on and on.

So, I've had a passing interest in jewelry and sewing. I have made stuff in the past, without any instructions or classes, but wanted to improve on my skills. As soon as I found out about this opportunity, I jumped at the chance. If nothing else, the prospect of sitting down at CD (like the regular ones I talked about in the previous post) with nothing to do, was not appealing to me at all. Unfortunately, tailoring was not available on a day I liked, so I signed up for: Bead Making, Wedding Accessories, Gele Tying, and Make Up. These 4 classes should last throughout the service year, so I won't get bored.

I'll now show you some examples of things I've done/made since I started the classes in February... Erm, please don't be upset that my face is blurred out. People have been able to identify me from just seeing my lips alone, so...

Bead Making

1. Black/Grey necklace

2. This was for homework

3. Just playing around with some beads I had

4. These earrings turned out a tad longer than I originally planned. I'm going to make shorter ones, and a matching bracelet and necklace, maybe.

Gele Tying

I count myself as one of the worst gele tie-ers in the world... that is, until 2/3 weeks ago! FINALLY!!! I have seen the light. And fine, I only remember 2 styles out of the 5 that were taught, but it's a start, innit?! I PROUDLY showcase my "national theatre" gele tying :)

*RANDOM THOUGHT ALERT!!! I think I look like Rorshach with my blurred out face!!!! *insert BB straight face*

I can tie gele sha o. Y'all should clap for me wherever you are. As in, I tied them on my head all by my oneses.

Wedding Accessories

Just started this class two weeks ago. At the end of it, I'll have made a fascinator and a fan. Will post pictures accordingly.

Make Over

Gawsh! I only signed up for it cos I was bored, truthfully. Well, maybe I'll do somn to my eyes and take a picture, just for you. Uno momento...

5000 momentos later, I must put a disclaimer: Make up is not something I'm overly interested in. So... please be nice in your judgement of my before and after shots.



What do you think???

So this is my CD. I've been enjoying it, truthfully, and I'd implore any future corpers to really think about what they want to do for their CD choices.

Ok, I have to say that I've enjoyed doing this post :) And now, I gotta run.

I'm considering doing a Style Post on the NYSC Kit aka Uniform... Yes? No? Let me know...

Toodles and cupcakes!