Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tips for prospective corpers: Before you leave home for NYSC camp

Okay... We, corpers and all, at Magaji Dan Yamusa camp are preparing for the big day- the closing ceremony and heading to the different PPAs and CDS.

Surprisingly, these past couple of weeks at the orientation camp have been a time of learning and unlearning for me.

Meeting, living, learning, unlearning and working with a group of strangers, some of whom have become friends, has been an interesting process of growth for me. I look forward to the next phase with thankfulness and open-mind.

This post is aimed at 'helping' the next crop of graduates who'll be serving our fatherland across Nigeria better prepare (that is, what to expect on camp). Try to prepare well as much as you can for the 3 weeks of camp life:

1. Ask other corpers, ex-corpers about their experience: Before heading to camp, I read a book written by an ex-corper titled "Corper Shun". Trust me, the book did go a long way to help me prepare... I also 'drilled' my older siblings and friends on their NYSC experience. Their diverse responses opened my mind to the uniqueness of the programme. At the end of the day, our experiences might be different but having a fore-knowledge of what to expect will reduce your "camp-shock." Some camps are more stressful and depressing than others. To put it better: some camps are more exciting than others ;-).

2. Come open-minded: Come to camp open-minded. I know many people will feed your mind with their views and prejudice once you announce your state of service. I'll advise that you take your time to actually allow yourself experience the uniqueness of the place you are posted to and the people you'll meet as well. Try not to judge everyone and everything at first contact.

3. Make friends: Camp life is pretty stressful. Being around the right people or having the right people around you will help you stay sane. But don't be too desperate about making friends that you land in the wrong company. Try to have fun... and relax. Don't complain too much. Moaning and depressing murmurings will leave you exhausted. Avoid depressing conversations if possible.

4. Come with money but learn to budget well: When I read in "Corper Shun," the need to bring some pocket money to camp, I thought the author was joking. But having experienced being broke (you might not get an ATM to withdraw money), I'll say please bring pocket money... But also learn to budget. Don't spend extravagantly... Be very frugal in your spending. Don't buy everything you see... Also don't allow camp photographers take pictures of you randomly- of course unless it is part of your plan. Be kind to others but also ensure you are not careless with your spending.

5. Eat from the kitchen Some corpers are 'allergic' to eating from camp kitchen so they end up spending a huge part of their pocket-money in 'Mami market.' I'll advise that if you are not ultra-rich (or even if you are), try as much as you can to eat from the kitchen. The government paid loads to ensure you have three square meal per day. Don't miss the opportunity to use your meal ticket. Okay, they don't cook the best meal. But trust me, it is not that bad. You can complement what the kitchen provide with fruits from Mami market.

6. Beware of Mami market: Mami market is the spot where things are sold on camp. And yes, things are very expensive there. The traders/retailers there blame the inflation in the market on camp officials. They say they were charged mercilessly for their rented space. So corpers bear the burden. To avoid being exploited in this market, try as much as you can to come with as much things as possible- waist-bag, bathing and washing soap, detol, Milk, etc. In our camp, the price of items were almost twice the normal retail cost.

7. Security: Ensure you come with a safelock for your bags. But more importantly ensure you don't flaunt too much to put you at risk of petty theft. Be very careful with your belongings... For example, don't leave your phone or purse on your bed and turn away for a minute. Don't get me wrong, the camp is pretty safe. But some cases of theft were reported in my hostel as well as others. There are no locks on hostel doors so everyone including non-corpers (e.g. women who hawk goods) have access to these hostels. So, ensure you up your skills in keeping your things safe.

8. The military life is not as mean: NYSC is described as para-military. So come prepared. Don't come expecting the camp officials to be mushy-mushy. It is not that they are not empathetic but just come prepared to live like a soldier or be treated as one- with harshness et al. The activities are no childs-play.

9. Be prayerful & don't neglect your faith: It might be hard to have a me-time on camp. Activities are sometimes back-to-back. There are also other activities competing for attention. Not to forget how tiring waking up early for all those activities can be. But try to maintain a healthy time for devotion. Attend the Nigeria Christian Corpers' Fellowship...(NCCF), Catholic or Muslim fellowship where applicable... Don't neglect your faith. Fellowship with brethren revitalizes.

10. Eat well: Most activities, if not all, require high energy. I mean high energy! Ensure you eat well. Don't skip meals. Come with snacks and water bottle. The latter is to ensure you constantly have water closeby. There is a lot of 'standing under the sun' so you'll need the water to stay hydrated!

11. Actively participate: There is always the temptation to play truancy while on camp. Especially when camp activities get overwhelming. Try as much as you can to be active on camp... Volunteer to serve in the different groups- Nigeria red cross, OBS, man o' war, etc. When in your platoon, also try as much as you can to participate in the group activities. All the team dynamics is part of the learning process. Active participation is not necessarily to get cheap recognition... Or massage your ego. It is just that there is no need to tiptoe through camp... You won't have the experience twice. Some of the seminars are annoying or a time-waster but try as much as you can not to stay idle...listen up anyway. Maximize all learning avenues. ( I was not ultra-active but I did try to at least participate in some activities).

12. Create your own experience: No amount of experience-sharing can replace your own unique experience while on camp. So don't box yourself in. Go to orientation camp and rock the phase!! DON'T FORGET TO READ THE HAND-BOOKS YOU'LL BE GIVEN DURING REGISTRATION. As irrelevant as the small booklets might look, reading them will save you alot of headache ;-).

Bonus: Learn from the challenges you'll face. Embrace camp life with a thankful heart. Stay positive even when it seems you have no reason to. May God firmly establish you in your PPA and other phases of NYSC! I pray same for me and all corpers in my set as well. :-).

The NYSC anthem: Youths obey the clarion call, Let us lift our Nation high, Under the sun or in the rain, With dedication and selflessness, Nigeria is ours, Nigeria we serve....

Note»»»» "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7.

Photo credit: culled from pro-NYSC Twitte

Monday, March 4, 2013

#NYSC: As You Obey The Clarion Call…

 2013 Batch A Coppers are already trooping into National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) camps across the country. While some are already on their way others are planning to be on the move latest tomorrow. (Safe journey to all).


However, as the journey begins fully tomorrow (Camp opens tomorrow- Tuesday), one of the essential things needed are words or quotes from some world leaders who have served their country one way or the other.


These quotes, I believe will serve as a sort of inspiration as we obey the clarion call towards "Service and humanity."


Here are twenty of such quotes to motivate you as you obey the clarion call to serve Nigeria. Remember, many receive advice, only the wise profit by it :-)



1.       "He that has learned how to obey will know how to command." – Anonymous.

2.      "Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great, you can be that generation." Nelson Mandela.

3.       "As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself…" Nelson Mandela.

4.      "I am still one, but still I am one, I cannot do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I cannot do"- Edward Everett Hale.

5.       "Live in such a way that those who know you but do not know God; will come to know God because they know you." - Anonymous.

6.      "Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark journey with us. Oh, be swift to love, make haste to be kind." – Henri Fredric Amiel

7.       "Appearances matter – and remember to smile."  - Nelson Mandela

8.       "Do your little bit of good where you are; it's these little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world." – Archbishop Desmond Tutu

9.      "Do what you can with what you have, where you are."- Theodore Roosevelt

10.   "Never despair and if you do, work on in despair." – Edmund Burke

11.      "Optimism is a cheerful frame of mind that enables a tea kettle to sing though it is in hot water up to its nose." Anonymous.

12.   "Opportunities are seldom labeled."-John A Sheed

13.   "Nothing great can be achieved without enthusiasm." –Ralph Waldo Emerson

14.    "When faced with a challenge, look for a way…, not a way out."- David l. Weatherford.

15.   "It always seems impossible until it is done."  Nelson Mandela.

16.   "We must use time creatively, and forever realise that the time is always right to do what is right." Nelson Mandela.

17.    "When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion"- Ethiopian proverb

18.    "A man who paves respect to the great paves way for his own greatness."- Chinua Achebe

19.   "Looking at the faces of people, one gets the feeling there's a lot of work to be done."- Wole Soyinka.

20.  "Nothing in life is to be feared, it is to be understood." -Marie Curie.


Going Camping: I Will Not Lose My Head


"The highest reward for a man's toil is not what he gets out of it, but what he becomes by it."

-          John Ruskin


Camp for #Batch A 2013 opens on Tuesday and I am getting optimistic about the whole exercise.

Although I was not that keen on taking the adventure in the first place; I have since gotten past the anxiety of going very far from home - to a state where I have never been before. (No, I am not going to say where I am posted to, so keep your fingers crossed on that).

Like it is expected several advise have been given, lot of stories heard with lot of things to look out for , yet one thing is sure – the journey is like an adventure so I hope to have a firsthand experience.

So now, having gotten past the "shock", I am looking at the brighter side of things, looking forward to embracing the whole new experience.

I am hoping to catch more fun than I have in a long while.

However, if you are like me (not passionate about adventure/travelling), here are some of the good sides of the journey that you wouldn't want to miss:

·         Become a self-acclaimed tourist (Travel to see places): you have been working/studying for a long time…. so this is the time to stretch your leg literarily and have some fun… before you begin to take a more responsible journey into the adult world. (Believe me, NYSC prepares you for experience to the real world. it's the passage). Also, some states there is only a few hours from each other.  For example, some states in the east and the north are quite close to each other. So, if you are placed in any state that is as close as that, you have the opportunity to learn new things (culture, traditions etc.). So while the one year NYSC experience gives you the chance to serve your father's land (Nigeria), it also give you the opportunity to live life, travel, sight-seeing, learn and unlearn a lot of things about the place you are posted to carry out your primary assignment.


·         NYSC exercise also give us the liberty to know how things are really are in other places we have heard "so much" about. Our experience, I believe will be the true test of the view/stories or "misconception(s)" of what we hear/have heard about those places.


·         Another thing is that, you will have the chance to put what you have learnt in the classroom (and in your home) into practice for the outside world to see. In other world, it is not only a fun-galore experience, but a chance to prove your worth/sell yourself to the outside world (those that do not know you).


·         Moving out of your comfort zone –At one point in our life, we are bound to move away from experiencing mundane things to extra-ordinary things that will channel us to knowing ourselves more, especially where our strength and weaknesses lies. In other words, experiencing new situations or finding ourselves in a new environment makes us stronger than we give ourselves credit for. So, NYSC is going to bring out that "inner strength" you have doubted yourself of processing.

Other things to achieve also include:


·         Growing  roots ...explore

·         Meeting new people and friends

·         Have a story to tell

·         Get the oppourtunity to serve.- your country, community… contribute your quota  to the society selflessly.

·         Human relation: You learn how to get along with people/individual of different temperament or background

·         Test boundaries … until you move away from your comfort zone , you cant know your strength , weaknesses and limitations


I am keeping my fingers cross to enjoy myself, serve my country and at the same time have fun.

I hope to achieve that and more.

I pray I will not "lose my head" in the process.


Copper OluwaBusayomi Signing out :-)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Call up letter... what next?


So we have been mobilized by our school. We have received our call-up letters. We have just a few days to pack up and head out to the states where we are going to be spending one year serving Nigeria!!

Follow this blog for more info as we work hard and play hard!

Corper shon!