Monday, June 25, 2012

I'm a corper, NOT your plaything!!! GTFOHWTBS!

*insert BB angry face here!!!!!!*

Disclaimer: I am not judging anybody... only married men who think that female corpers exist for their personal consumption and amusement.

GTFOHWTBS!!!!! Erm, if you dunno what this means, then click HERE.

I realize this situation happens a lot and I should probably be used to it, or not be surprised by it, but OMG it makes me feel sick to my stomach... literally.

Someone in my office has hit on me, and all my female corper friends (about 4 or 5 of them - and within minutes of each other o). Truthfully, I have half a mind to report him to my supervisor. But since I can't do that, I shall send a letter to him and his friends... See below.

Dear Mr. Married Employee,

No, I'm not interested in a relationship or fling with you. I'm pretty sure I'm not even interested in speaking to you.

No, I don't have a phone number. I lost it the second after you asked me for it.

No, I don't need breakfast, lunch or dinner... I lost my appetite when you came to talk to me.

No, I don't need you to give me a ride... I need to break in my 10-inch heels on my 5km walk home.

No, I don't like Brazilian/Peruvian/Ugandan weaves... I think shaved heads are the next big thing.

What do I do on weekends? I avoid you.

Sincerely yours,

Not Your Berry!

The end.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

So I passed out from NYSC - Miss B's post-NYSC interview

Hi BooBerries (hehe, I totally just came up with that, and mefinks I loike it uber-much!)

So, I hope y'all enjoyed Mimikins' interview last week. I found her interview to be interesting, not really critical of NYSC, and it had a more positive slant than I was expecting.

Well, I've got another interview today and I was SHOCKED to read her responses. Miss B is a no-nonsense, feisty chick and she clearly made her feelings known! I'll post my disclaimer now, as opposed to the end of her interview:

Dear NYSC-Leaders-Who-Happen-Upon-This-Blog-By-Chance, kindly consider 
that anything negative in the following interview are NOT MY words. 
Please do not use them against me when it's my turn to pass out. 
Berry loves you more than cake and ice cream... 
Ok, that last bit is a BIG LIE but you catch my drift :)

And now, my friend's interview...

  1. State your aje-butter credentials, according to Berry's definition (See my definition here: 

    I'm Miss B (If you know her, then that response actually says it all, lol)

  2. How would you summarize your NYSC experience from start to finish?

    My NYSC experience was traumatic to say the least. To me, NYSC is a scam and the officials go on ridiculous power trips with the aim of dehumanizing and traumatizing you. I learnt the true meaning of wickedness during this experience. The work aspect however, was great, I learnt a lot, met a lot of great people and I can honestly say the company I work for is has a pretty good company structure and thus, makes work a little easier. 
  3. What, if anything, did you learn during your NYSC year - personally and/or career-wise?

    Personally, NYSC is a joke and education is our biggest problem in this country. Careerwise- working in Nigeria is special and you need an extra dose of patience and a high tolerance for bs.
  4. What are your personal views on the current relevance of NYSC in Nigeria?

    There is no relevance period! The initial benefits of NYSC has since been lost and the system needs a total overhaul. It's simply a money making, power grabbing venture for the officials and the government.
  5. Why did you decide to go through NYSC?

    I just wanted to get it out the way and I was going through career/major life changes so I thought, why not bite the bullet now.
  6. What was your experience like in camp? Favorite/worst memories?

    LMAO. Err camp...I didn't stay in camp for medical reasons. I remember being sooo excited to go to camp but as soon as I stepped foot in the gate on my very first day, umm yea all that excitement stayed in the car. Worst memory...going to the ladies and almost puking from the nastiness that was the bathroom. Getting into my 'room' and realizing that there were 38 people in a room with a maximum capacity of 16 with no electricity and only 2 windows. The constant pushing and touching...people do not respect personal space and this was a big issue for me. Best memory...none....actually, walking out the gate after my exeat form was signed was pretty good.
  7. What would you change about the NYSC program?

    Everything! For one, make everything computerized...its the 21st century! Eliminate the need for weekly/monthly cd. Restructure the pay (allowee), negotiate with companies for better pay for corpers, improve/the quality of the uniforms. Utilize the massive man/brain power of the corpers to actually make a difference in the country. For instance, corpers are no longer being posted to banks, oil companies and such, but does it make sense to send someone who barely graduated with a 3rd class to be a school teacher? As a country, we need to invest in alternative means of farming, electricity, fuels,these are projects you can assign to corpers and make it competitive so that at the end of the year, corpers can make presentations/ suggestions based on the R&D they've done their whole service year. The best and most feasible solution will have the opportunity to implement their findings and actually make a change. Obviously this is an over simplified example but it can be done.
  8. What CD group did you join, and was the experience worthwhile?

    Charity (special CD). It was totally worth it. Charity visits/volunteer is something that's dear to my heart and I already do in my spare time, however, with NYSC, its just something to be done. There is no continuity or genuine interest because we were forced to do it.
  9. Do you have any advice for incoming aje-butter corpers?

    Expect the worst! Not trying to scare you but trust me, when u expect the worst/nothing at all, you're not disappointed. Logic and common sense don't work here. Don't argue because you end up looking crazy. Smile a will keep you sane.
  10. What are your plans post-NYSC?

  11. Bonus question: What are you going to do with your NYSC uniform/kit?

    I plan to have a burning/burial ceremony. Seriously, my uniform has been ripped and torn since the first day I got it so it's in the garbage. I'm only keeping my orange boots...I kinda like em.

And there we have it! I must say I thoroughly enjoyed getting her interview responses. And while anyone can look at them as being negative responses, I actually do think that there's some wisdom behind them. I don't know if NYSC as a whole tries to get feedback from ex-corpers, but it's worth looking into. The whole idea is to see what's working and what needs to be changed. There's so much that can be done through NYSC but are the leaders willing to put in the necessary resources? I believe that through NYSC, Nigeria can effect some positive change but there needs to be a plan - a sustainable one that will not die when a new head comes into position. 

Sometimes I wish I could be a consultant for NYSC. Go into the different secretariats, camps, and local government offices to see the current structure and recommend necessary changes. I'm going to post about my general cd next week (video included) and you'll see how riotous it gets...

Toodles BooBerries!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

So I passed out from NYSC - Mimikins' Interview

Hey y'all,

Congratulations to all the 2011 Batch B Corps Members who successfully passed out from NYSC on Thursday, June 14th! I wish you all well and trying hard not to be jealous of you. I was supposed to be in your batch but somehow convinced myself to postpone serving - #AlwaysListenToYourMummyWhenSheSaysToServeWith2011BatchB.

Anyways, like the last time, I've interviewed someone near and dear to me on her NYSC experience. Mimikins, as I fondly call her, served in Abuja and this is what she had to say...

  1. State your aje-butter credentials, according to Berry's definition. (See my definition here: Aje-Butter Definition)
    I was born and bred in London up until I was 23. Would say I came from a comfortable home, no complaints. We didn't have maids or cooks, etc because we don't do such in London, but I am your full aje-butter child... Well I was :-)

  2. How would you summarize your NYSC experience from start to finish?
    It was a smooth but bumpy ride. Don't regret it but wouldn't want to repeat it.

  3. What, if anything, did you learn during your NYSC year? Personally and/or career-wise?
    Career-wise, I learnt that I NEVER EVER want to become a civil servant! Gosh! They all look so miserable, that can't be me! Personally, I learnt how to adapt to the 'Nigerian way' of life, which is totally different to the UK. And I think I adapted quite well :-)

  4. What are your personal views on the current relevance of NYSC in Nigeria?
    I may get attacked for this, but I think NYSC is good for foreign-trained students, particularly those who have spent most of their life outside Nigeria. It's a totally different system and we must learn how to adapt because whether we like it or not, this is our country! And NYSC forces you to adapt. Aside that, I don't see the relevance of NYSC anymore.

  5. Why did you decide to go through NYSC?
    I didn't decide to go through NYSC by choice. Came to visit my mum one christmas and she somehow convinced me to stay back in Nigeria and 'serve my country,' lol.

  6. What was your experience like in camp? Favorite/worst memories?
    I absolutely loved camp!!! Not for the drills or anything because I didn't do any of that. But for the fun times with friends, the friends I made there. Mammy market at night made it that more exciting too, all those drunken moments, lol. My worst memories would probably be the cold water showers, before I discovered the woman that boils hot water, and of course, the toilet situation...

  7. What would you change about the NYSC program?
    Increase the nysc allowance according to where you're posted to. And change the attitude of those bitchy NYSC officials - we didn't force you to take the job.

  8. What CD group did you join, and was the experience worthwhile?
    I was made to join the Consumer Protection Council CDS group, and no, it wasn't worthwhile at all.

  9. Do you have any advice for incoming aje-butter corpers?
    I'll advice my fellow aje-butters coming to serve to learn humility. I was disgusted at the attitudes of some of the foreign-trained students - acting as if they were better than people who schooled in Nigeria, disrespecting their elders, etc. Humility is worldwide, and should be practiced everywhere you go. Another piece of advice - make sure you're fully protected against malaria, and don't drink water you're not sure of. Depending on how long the soon-to-be corper has been out of the country, their body may not be used to the environment again, so protect yourself.

  10. What are your plans post-NYSC?
    Still undecided whether to stay in Nigeria or go back to London for a bit. Time will tell I guess.

  11. Bonus question: What are you going to do with your NYSC uniform/kit?
    Was thinking of burning my corper uniform, but may give it to someone in my village :-)

And there we have it! Congrats again Mimikins!!! I wish you all the best as you move forward with your life.

*Note* I was not there by that time, regarding her comment about bitchy NYSC officials o. I LOVE ALL NYSC officials, and I'm not saying that only because I don't want to be caught and given unnecessary drama when it's my turn to pass out in October *insert BB straight face smiley*

Hugs n kisses,

Monday, June 11, 2012

In NYSC News...

Hey people,

In my last post, I was really distressed by the Dana Air crash. Things are still somber in Nigeria, but we have to pick ourselves up and move on. I know I said a while ago that I'd post interesting NYSC-oriented news items and comment on them. I'm not even sure if the NYSC news feed shows appropriate news content. Anyways, I went digging for interesting articles to share and here they are below:

  1. Female NYSC Members to learn Martial Arts - So the Director General a couple of weeks ago announced that female corpers would undergo martial arts training, because apparently they are being subjected to unwanted advances and molestation. His position is that he wants to empower female members to say NO in more ways than one.
    My comment: I quite like this idea but are they enforcing the training? In my camp there was time given to marching and martial arts, but only about 30 corps members participated in the martial arts training. Even I dodged it :(
  2. NYSC gives conditions to release corpers for Edo Gubernatorial Elections - INEC wants to use corps members as ad-hoc staff in the upcoming governor elections in Edo State. If everyone remembers the elections from last year, a lot of corpers were targeted and killed while working with INEC. This time around the NYSC DG says security must be ensured if corpers are to be released to INEC.
    My comment: Hmm! I dunno about sending corpers out to participate again o. Especially as the security situation in Nigeria's dicey.
  3. INEC - We'll secure corps members - And I quote, "We are going to extend the same security to Youth Corps members, even more security to them than our permanent staff. Fear should not be entertained because the commission has taken measures to ensure the security of our both adhoc and permanent personnel and even our materials."
    My comment: Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight. What measures were taken?
And there we have it, the round up of NYSC Nigeria in the news. This concludes our broadcast. I'm Berry Choco Latté, your hostess for BRRY - your source for Aje-Buttery NYSC information. See you next time. *flashes wide smile and begins to adjust papers on her desk like a serious newscaster*


Monday, June 4, 2012

The reason why I'm leaving Nigeria after serving...

My heart's been heavy since yesterday evening due to the tragic weekend in Nigeria - starting from the suicide bomber attacks to the plane crash, in which my friends lost their father. My sincere condolences go out to the victims' loved ones who were left behind - may God give them the strength, comfort and fortitude to hold it together during this difficult time. And may those who have left this world rest in peace, in Jesus' name. Amen.

And now I have to ask... WHY?

There are a lot of stories flying back and forth - I don't know which is fact and which is fiction.

Some people are blaming the president - not sure why.

Some people are blaming the Indian management of Dana airways - I'm not sure if the story is true that an Indian manager purposefully sent a faulty plane out with passengers.

Some people are blaming the Aviation Minister - I do agree the aviation industry/ministry in this country leaves a lot to be desired. However...

The whole of Nigeria is like that! Nothing works! Nigeria from the ground up is a corrupt society!

Electricity, Water, Public Transportation, Telecommunications, Police, Military, Aviation, etc. Nothing works. There is NO maintenance culture. Nobody takes responsibility for anything - least especially those who can pay their way out of everything. There is NO transparency in anything. And for everything that doesn't work, there is always a response...

Bad roads - "Berry, you obviously don't know the alternate routes."

Lack of clean tap water - "Berry, just buy bottled water to bathe with"

Telecommunications - "Berry, just carry 3 phones because they can't all be down at the same time"

Everything - "Berry, you'll get used to it. E go better."

I'm sorry to say it but I've lost faith that Nigeria will get better. And if it actually does get better, chances are it will not be in my lifetime. I came to Nigeria full of hope, knowing that Nigeria had sooooooo much potential. For instance, there is absolutely NO REASON why Nigeria shouldn't be a tourist destination! God has blessed this country with SO MUCH... SO VERY MUCH! But does the average Nigerian care? No. Littering all over the place. Public urination in broad daylight. Waste everywhere. Something as simple as taking care of the land, the waters that God gave us - NOTHING.

What exactly is there to look forward to in this country? Apart from the huge incomes (both legal and illegal), what else is there to be appreciative for? Beggars roam the streets - I actually have friends that will say "Come on, get out from here!!! Don't touch my car with your dirty hands." I was stunned the first time I heard someone say it. Stunned and embarrassed... If it's not beggars begging for money, area boys DEMANDING that you give them money or else suffer theft or bodily harm. I vowed never to go out partying or clubbing at night in Nigeria again because of a bad experience I had... Where are the policemen to ensure peace and order when you need them? Oh! This private citizen has paid them off to come and be his personal bodyguards. Soldiers too, wielding guns and driving with sirens because a rich man doesn't want to sit in traffic...

You tell me you can never live outside Nigeria because you don't want to pay taxes. And yet, in those foreign societies, the systems work. There are good roads, hospitals that won't turn you away, law enforcement, education for children, electricity, clean water... If my taxes are going to ensure that I live a better life, then why not? I'm not saying living outside is all gravy, but can we get the basic necessities in Nigeria?

Nigerians scream and cry out about how the western society is wicked, perverse, ungodly, and so forth. And yet, a plane crashes, people are burning alive and majority of the bystanders are busy taking pictures with their cell phones, so they can show off on Facebook, Twitter, and BlackBerry Messenger. Tell me how you're better than anybody else in the world. HOW?

Nigeria. I don't know what to do anymore. How can I pray for a nation that I've lost hope/faith in?

I'm tired.

P.S. Looks like a corper from Lagos was on the flight as well. Remember my post about Traveling during your service year... it's because of tragedies like this that traveling is discouraged.