Friday, August 24, 2012

Dear NYSC...

Dear NYSC,

Hello! How are you? My name's Berry Choco Latte. I've been a part of your program since November 2011. I just have a few things I want to express now that our time together is drawing to a close.

  1. I know you're VERY busy, but would it kill you to update your website regularly? I've been stalking your home page for weeks, trying to get the time table for 2012 Batch C Orientation and Registration. All I see is a blank space after "Information for Batch C Orientation is..." and when I click on the supposed link to the time table, I'm getting Batch B's information. It's not fair for you to raise my hopes up, and then send them crashing down. Please, enh, biko, e jo, ____ (insert Hausa please here), por favor, per favore...
  2. What's the probability of taking some parts, if not all, of the registration process online? Ok, so maybe the issue is ensuring that the system isn't taken advantage of - I know for sure, a percentage of people would use false identification to sign up (they're already doing it now, so it wouldn't make a difference). But ok, how about after people have enrolled for NYSC, you capture their information online, give them codes and have them pre-register for camp. During this pre-registration process, they should be able to enter their clothes/shoe sizes, so you can ensure you send the appropriate kits to each camp. In addition, since you already know what sites/structures are being used for the camps, you can allot rooms BEFORE the new corpers get to camp. ALSO, you can let them know what platoons they're in. This should cut down on the billion and one forms you make them sign before getting to camp. Of course, there will be challenges for those people who work their way around by switching to new orientation camps, but I'm sure we can figure out a way to deal with those issues.
  3. Who in Nigeria's name makes the dreaded NYSC kits??? Do you have any officials that check the quality of the materials and workmanship? You wonder why people go and sew their own versions of kits - it's because YOURS SUCKS!!! Since I don't know who the uniforms and shoes are sourced to, I won't make any recommendations. I sha hope such things are given to underemployed communities to undertake.
  4. What will it take to revamp the orientation camps? I feel like the government should have allotted a budget to NYSC - how about working toilets, mattresses/beds that make sense, safe and secure locations, painted buildings, etc? Maybe people wouldn't be so eager to skip camp if they were comfortable. In addition, revamping would not be enough - MAINTENANCE is key! You work closely with MDG, innit? Last I checked, they were all about SUSTAINABILITY.
  5. Apply point 4 above to the Local Government offices and State secretariats.
  6. Something needs to be done about your website! I know I touched on it in point 1, but seriously. Why should I hear about commendable community development projects on social websites, but none of them are posted on your website? Encourage incoming and prospective corps members with the good things that have come out of your program. In fact, maybe you should hire me as your PR person - please note, I only fly (no road trips unless necessary) and I only stay in nice hotels.
  7. Create a survey for outgoing and current corps members and use the information and comments given wisely. There are a lot of intelligent people in your program with great ideas! Use them! Yes, I said it. USE US!
Erm, that's it for now. I may write another letter at the end of service, so look out for my correspondence.

Sincerely yours,

No hugs and kisses for you.

Friday, August 10, 2012

I'm a corper, NOT your plaything: Part 2... GTFOHWTBS!

Heeeeeey berryful people!

Isn't it such a pretty day outside? It's not raining, the sun is out, the temperature's just right, the sky is blue, birds are chirping, a TDH (tall, dark, and handsome) knight on a white horse is... ok, enough with the daydreaming. The skies are grey, and there is no knight in sight - hey, I rhymed.

So it looks like someone in my office didn't get my last memo on the topic above (click HERE if you missed it). I was quite offended by a proposition last weekend and it may not necessarily have to do with my being a corper, but wa'ev, I'm a LADY and expect proper behavior from others.

Here's the background of the story.

There's this guy at work who started a couple of months after I did. He is Jean-Claude Van DAMN FOINE! He's tall, dark, handsome, walks with this air (I refuse to say 'swag' but that's what it is), dresses nice, etc. So, I've been scoping him secretly for months now. It's really bad. Like I'd see him across the road and I'd get butterflies in my tummy and my heart would race #DISASTER! After a while, we got to smiling at each other in passing. I mostly saw him during lunch time and he'd always be with his friends, one of whom I got to saying hello to - *Please note: NOTHING BEYOND HELLO! I eventually got around to speaking to TDH last month, and we just did minimal introductions (My name is... I work in this dept...I grew up here/there...Nice meeting you...See ya around).

So last Friday, I went to lunch - none of my friends were around, and I was all by myself :(. BUT guess who was having lunch too... Mr. TDH himself, and his friend. I got all brave and decided to sit with them and chat for a little bit. During our brief chat, his friend introduced himself and found out we live barely 5 minutes away from each other. They asked what I do for fun - and TDH said they were celebrating his friend's birthday later that evening at a club and invited me to join them. I said they should let me know when/where and his friend got my number so he could send the details later that evening.

I already had plans that evening, and while I was out with someone-who-shall-remain-nameless (if you see this post, don't start sulking!), TDH's friend sent a message saying I should meet them up at some club. My nameless-friend and I got there, but it was crowded and we left the vicinity so I could be home during godly hours (stop laughing, nameless person!).

*Now here's the point of the story*

At about X:30am (does anybody really need to know what time I got home?) right as soon as I was dropped off, my phone rings and it's TDH's friend.

Him: Hey Berry, what happened? Why didn't you show up?
Me: Well, the place was crowded, and I was tired anyways. Maybe next time.
Him: Well I was REALLY looking forward to partying with you.
Me: Erm...ok, sawry *insert BB straight face smiley here*
Him: Since you didn't come, how about I come pick you up and you can spend the night at my house.
Me: *cough cough* EXCUSE ME?!? What for?
Him: Come on now, we're both adults and you look like a "fun" girl.
Me: I don't think so.
Him: Ah ah now. Why not?
Me: I barely know you. We only just properly met today.
Him: How can you say that? I've been knowing you for a long time. (lol @ knowing)
Me: Not really. We didn't even know each other's names before this afternoon.
Him: No matter, like I said, you look like a "fun" girl, so let me come and pick you up.
Me: I'm pretty sure I already told you NO. I don't know you well enough to be in your house alone at all, so why in the heck would I come at this time?
Him: WOW! I'm really surprised at your answer o. I was thinking you're a "fun" girl and we can spend some time together. I'm disappointed that you're acting this way.
Me: ENH?! WHAT THE HELL KINDA GIRL DO YOU THINK I AM?!?! You know what? I'm going to bed. Good night. *click*

I'm sorry, but what exactly is a "FUN" girl? Did I miss an important memo? Since when does having/being fun include spending the night in a strange man's house? Well, I'm quite ticked off that I've lost any and all admiration of TDH - I've deemed him guilty by association :p

Dear gentlemen readers, please treat females honorably. It goes a long way in this day and age of morons.

Dear lady readers, if anybody treats you stupidly, tell them to GTFOHWTBS!!!

Signed and approved by,
Your Berryness.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Aje-Butter in the City... Take 1

Hola amigos!

Countdown to the end of my NYSC Year!!!!!!! At this point, I have 10 weeks left, give or take 2 weeks... We're supposed to be passing out mid-October, so I'm understandably giddy with excitement. Anyways, now that it's crunch time, I figured I should make use of the opportunity to explore and enjoy what Lagos has to offer - minus the crazy traffic and crazier drivers. And so here I am, sharing my experiences. My life can't be all business/NYSC and no fun, you know?

My go-to source for events is the weekly post every Thursday on Bella Naija. There are usually concerts,  shows, club events, shopping, etc. Since I'm more on the mellow side, I tend to stick to the quieter, tamer stuff. Some of the things I've indulged in recently are...


As an Aje-butter, I should totally be able to pronounce it flawlessly - however, I change the pronunciation every other time I say it. What is Le Petite Marche, you ask? This is a monthly shopping event where vendors converge to sell different items such as clothes, accessories, shoes, candy, beauty products and more. I kinda hate attending because I always leave with a lighter wallet (I promise I'm not a shopaholic). But they do have pretty things, and I love pretty things, so I just can't resist! (Ok, maybe I'm a baby shopaholic) Some of the things I've scored are rings, bracelets, blouses, a tank top and blazer on my different expeditions.

I totally love the design on this tank top - so Africhic! Btw, I always haggle at Le Petite Marche, telling all the vendors I'm just a poor corper and they should give me discounts :p

The yellow blouse is another top I've scored at Le Petite Marche... anyone recognize the shorts? YES, from my orientation camp days. See, you can find good use out of some NYSC gear. I bought them o, not that they were from NYSC... Speaking of which, I wonder where they source the uniforms from, and I'm thinking there must be a better way to ensure fit and quality across the board. I feel like I have these ideas, but no clue how to execute them, so I don't bother writing proposals to NYSC headquarters - shame :(


At the end of July, on the same day as Le Petite Marche, Chef Fregz had a special event at GET Arena. He is the resident BN Cuisine contributor over at Bella Naija - (BN Cuisine with Chef Fregz). He's a Nigerian celeb chef - trained for a bit in Paris and all too! I've had his food at a private dinner and it was TO DIE FOR (still dreaming about the souffle). So every few months, he holds a food event with a specially created menu. Since I love food, of course I had to swing by :)


Prada Eba Lamborghini Okro

Too Much Senrenre

Kukere I dey chop Chef Fregz

No, I didn't order all three dishes by myself. My friend, fellow corper/blogger (The Nigeria Experience) came with her family. I ordered the chicken dish, although in retrospect, I shoulda gone for the crepes - LOVE CREPES! I don't like garri or okro soup, but doesn't that dish look ah-MAH-zing?!


Terra Kulture's a cultural center in Victoria Island with the purpose of promoting Nigerian arts, language, food, and more. Every Sunday, there are stage shows/plays, which I'm really into. I've never been to the museum, shop or eaten their food, but it's definitely worth taking a peek at. A friend of mine is featured in their current Sunday show - Batonga, which is a play that talks about the issue of child slavery and human trafficking - pretty deep stuff. 

And there you have it! I'd like to do a little bit more - go jet-skiing, watch a concert, go to the beach (yes, I'm surrounded by water and I haven't yet visited any beach = disaster much?), and so on.

How much can I cram into a limited amount of time? Well, if I do anything fun, I'll be sure to take pictures and share them on here.

Berry :)