Thursday, February 28, 2013

NYSC Delta State Camp Review

Hello berryboos!

As you know, I like to contribute to another site - Review Naija - and the other day, I came across a review of the Delta State NYSC Camp by Nnamno N. It's really detailed and gives a good account of what the Orientation Camp was like, and I think it cuts across to all other camps in general. I've been generously allowed to "borrow" the post - which you can read directly at: NYSC Delta State Camp Review.

Posting-I was posted to Delta State. The camp is in a village called Isselle – Uku, about 20 minutes from Asaba, the capital. The moment you cross the gate, that is it - you cannot leave until the end of the 3 week orientation unless you’re extremely sick or near death. In my case the Camp Commandant i.e. the big shot soldier guy who is not to be messed with, sent all the pregnant women and nursing mothers home to re-register when they could be away from their children for the whole 3 weeks.

Registration at camp - Annoyingly enough there is another registration process in camp, and because we were about 2400 young men and women in my camp, average registration completion took 3 days. Mine took a week because I got my Call – Up letter but didn’t read the back until I had entered Delta, meaning I had to ask my family to send my University degree and Student ID by Delta Line courier service. In the interim, I had to purchase extremely undersized shoes, as every single person was required to wear white t – shirts, shorts and shoes everyday and the small market within camp didn’t have my shoe size. It was a pitiful and painful week.

Platoons & Soldiers - Each participant is assigned to a platoon led by soldiers. All 12 soldiers sent to supervise us were Hausa except one or two who were non-Hausa women. The soldiers were incredibly strict by day while supervising us, but lax by night when they were not in uniform. The one or two people that messed with them ran with buckets of water on their head shouting “I be mumu!!”…I certainly wasn’t messing with anyone. The Camp Commandant had various rules also, one of which was “don’t be caught using your phone on the parade/assembly ground”… some intelligent idiot defied him and the Captain simply collected the phone and threw it away…and yes, it was a blackberry.

Lectures- We had mandatory lectures from 9am to 2pm on entrepreneurial skills. Different small business owners would come to camp offering to teach us about bead making, baking, construction work, IT servicing, make up and how to get jobs with few companies. Two problems: attending these lectures were torturously boring – at least for me – because there were no breaks and often times you had to stand the whole time; secondly it is rare to find someone who spends years in the University to come out and learn bead making, or collecting government loan to start a farm as they were encouraging during these lectures. Those who were caught leaving the multi-purpose hall did 200 push ups, 150 frog jumps and whatever else the soldiers considered fun under the sun.

Food - We were fed three times a day from a kitchen run by incredibly hard working women who were assisted by Youth Corpers for each meal. There was a lot of garri and soup, porridge beans, and jollof rice. On rare occasions, someone would donate a cow and we’d eat meat. Fish caused fights because the pieces were so small and we were entitled to one each so naturally people duped others by colluding with their friends serving food and stashing more than their share. However, some people patronized surrounding mama puts that served meals costing between 200 - 400 naira. Meals included indomie, jollof rice, salad, garri and soup, add-on proteins, etc. There were over 12 mama puts around this camp market. 

Water - In the mornings, tankers brought water to the camp, and water was pumped at night. However, water would finish in less than 2 hours because people had to wash and shower. As for drinking water you either bought pure water or bottled water; there was no free drinking water whatsoever. If you went the pure water route you most certainly got typhoid after camp because there was a different company bringing their "pure" water every 4 days. As for the toilets,  all pit latrines (cleaned daily), but the majority of Corpers went to toilet around the hostels, so the only way you slept at night was simply out of fatigue from the day because the stench around the hostels could destroy your nostrils - especially the girls hostel! Oh my goodness! It was so bad the Camp Commandant complained about it.

Summary- If there’s anything NYSC achieves it is multi – ethnic cohesion. The population of the camp was overwhelmingly dominated by Igbo youth, followed by Yoruba youth, other South – South youth, and a handful of Hausas and Northerners. I don’t know the reason for such an imbalanced demographic but we all got along stunningly well.  Group activities like marching, cooking for the camp, and doing sanitation motivated unity of purpose among all of us. There was a lot of inter-dating amongst tribes too...

All in all, camp encouraged us to treat each other with equality, just that it went on for too long: 3 weeks is too much!! And if you think that’s the end the real suffering begins right after camp when you have to get posted to one of four government sectors: health, infrastructure, energy, or education.

So there, you have it. 2013 Batch A's about to start Orientation Camp in a week and a half... Don't forget to read up on my posts so you can prepare your mind for what's to come.

Love all y'all,

P.S. - Are you guys even reading my other blog??? Pleeeeeeeeeeease read it - Berry Dakara


  1. Love ur blog it has been of great help to a follow Aje butter Like myself. Just got my call up letter today and I was thrown to delta. Wasn't my plan but I guess God has a very good reason. Love ur blog #I think I said that already#Smh spent the whole afternoon reading every page
    Nice work and thanks again
    Delta batch A 2013 here I come

    1. Awww, thank you very much!

      I'm sure you'll do fine. Best wishes as you embark on your NYSC year. *hugs*

    2. @Nowbi I agree.... Berry's blog is fantastic!! *go Berry, go Berry* lol. Good luck with NYSC! And be sure to rate/share your experience in Delta on ReviewNaija

  2. This blog really saved my life,cos I had no idea what I was gonna need in delta state camp. But camping was not as horrible as I foresaw,thanks to the review I read...berrylatte,u rock

    1. Thanks! Camp really isn't the worst thing in the world. It's not great, but not the worst.