The soldiers told us to be up by 6am to start registration procedures but by 4am, some guys were already up in the hostel and making a whole lot of noise. By 4.30am I couldn’t sleep again. I and a two other guys took our buckets and went to look for water. By 6am we were done and then we had to take back all our things out of the main gate and form a line for the official search and re-admittance. However, it occurred to me that at that point, it was a pointless exercise because if I had contraband property in my things, I could have secreted them somewhere inside the campground before coming out again in the morning for the official search and entry.
Anyway, in a few hours it was my turn and I was let in and then we got to the point where we were to present our certificates and licenses (for health professionals like doctors, pharmacists, Med Lab scientists etc). That was where the problem started…
You see, I had just finished my one year compulsory internship in Jos University Teaching Hospital in September that year and camp was October, barely a month later. I applied for my full license but it wasn’t going to be out immediately. So, they gave us a cover letter to take to the NYSC camp and present it in place of the full license.
(Un)fortunately for me, I was the first pharmacist to get to that stage that day and the man there refused to accept my cover letter. ‘Mans’ said I have to produce my full license o, even with my statement of result and Internship experience certificate he still refused. Well, I called the number on the cover letter and someone in PCN Abuja picked the call. I explained my current predicament and he promised to get back to me. About ten minutes later, someone from NYSC Abuja called me and told me to give the phone to the man refusing to accept my cover letter. At first the man refused to collect the phone. Then I told him the name of the person over the phone. He looked at me in disbelief for like 5 seconds, then took the phone and immediately became stiff at attention. It was both amusing and annoying seeing the sudden change of countenance. He kept doing “yes sir!” every sentence.
Finally the call ended and he accepted my cover letter and personally directed the remaining procedures. He directed me where to collect my Uniforms and then told me to promptly report to the camp clinic. But I wasn’t going to report there at all. I was damn tired of doing Pharmacy things at that point. JUTH totally overworked us as interns for almost one year. I was exhausted. I wanted to use the three weeks of camp as a place to unwind and do something different from pharmacy for a change. I realised that after these three weeks, I was going to be doing pharmacy stuff for a looooooong time to come. I wanted this small break. So, I wasn’t going to report for any clinic duty.
Anyway, I proceeded to my platoon stand where I was supposed to collect my uniforms armed with my measurements as requested by NYSC when we were registering. I got there and the platoon officer told me “Pick one pack there” and then I told him “but sir, this is my measurement” and the man was like “Oga pick one uniform there! Nothing like measurement.” Dafuk man!? So, why did we bother to present our measurements while registering? My uniform was too large and my boot was too small. I had to walk around for a few hours looking for whom to exchange my boot with. Fortunately I found a girl with a large boot and exchanged mine with hers. Then I had to take my uniform to the camp tailors for adjustment.
The day was really stressful though, with the sun mercilessly beating down upon us and then we had to converge on the evening of that day for an address by the camp commandant. Finally, I was assigned a room with 7 other males.
Coincidentally, the two guys I met on the night before were also in the same room. We forged a kind of friendship in camp.
My room was lit though. We shall talk about my roommates, hehehe…