Yes! I was ready for this adventure! So much so that I left for camp a day before it official opened. Anxious? Not really!
I dreaded the much publicised opening day queue and I was bent at beating the rush. With an over-packed box, as heavy as lead, I set out!
The journey to Ogun state, my first actually, was as cool as it could get. I boarded with a Ladokite and she made sure I enjoyed the long, bumpy ride to the Sagamu camp. She was a good company.
We were checked into the camp on arrival and we bought the necessary items at inflated prices. I got acquainted with a couple of guys as we queued to drop off our call-up letters as collateral for gaining entry into the hostel. I had a good night, a short one however.
I woke up very early the next day, courtesy of my overzealous roomies. I didn’t have my bath however, because I was more concerned about getting in a favourable position on the queues to come. I had to drag my heavy box out of the hostel to the orientation hall to retrieve my letter and out of the main gate to be officially checked in. It had rained overnight and we had to go through a muddy terrain to get checked in. Wheew! My Smiths suffered!
My box was ransacked for contraband and I dashed to the next point afterwards. At the next registration point, I was easily the 200th on queue. Lucky enough, I saw some of the guys I met earlier in front and I quickly found my way to them. I eventually got into the camp officially as the 73rd person. 😉
I was dragging my box towards the hostels for registration when I heard startling voices ahead of me.
“ARE YOU COMING HERE WALKING?! FOOLISH! ON YOUR HEAD!! DOUBLE UP IN THREES!!!”
I Lifted my box to my head almost in reflex. There soldiers harried and hassled us and I had to jog with that heavy box on my head. My head hurt for days as a result.
I got bunk 39 in block A, room 1 though and yes, it was the bottom bunk! I dropped off my bag and hurried out of the hostel again.
“NO WALKING! THROUGHOUT YOUR STAY HERE, THERE SHALL BE NO WALKING!! OYA DOUBLE UP IN THREES!!!” another soldier called.
I jogged back to the orientation hall and found yet another long queue. This time we were divided into electronic and manual registrations; my 4k going into full swing. Being in the electronic reg queue meant I would register with less to no hassle. This resulted in me being the third registered member of my platoon- 0039.
I got my “oversized” kits, swapped my jungle boots for a larger size and went back to the hostel to change into my white clothing; how I wish I hadn’t… We were marched immediately to the parade ground afterwards.
The worst part of being in a new place is when your body decides not to adjust to the new environment. For the first four days in camp, I couldn’t use the toilet. It must have been a psychological thing because the toilets weren’t exactly clean and I just didn’t see myself “dumping” in there. My back ached for those days and the parade ground routines were daunting for me. I couldn’t stand straight for more than 30 minutes.
My bunk mate kept telling me how toxic the wastes are and how bad it is to not eliminate them. I eventually ate some oranges and before night fell, I had dumped on three separate occasions. I had to stuff the WC with toiletries though and I squatted! But hey, it was relieving.
The first three days in camp saw us engage in unending and killing parade routines. They were rigorous because we had to perfect them for the swearing-in ceremony. We had little reprieve on Friday but the Saturday was equally tasking- general sanitation and all. Wheew!
Sunday came and with it non-activity! I was so glad for the free day and I sure slept for long hours.
About time we had some real fun…
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