Trying To Survive

I’ve been listening to this podcast, called Submarine And A Roach, for a few weeks now. It’s hosted by these two Nigerian guys who banter and discuss various topics involving Nigeria and the wider world. I love this podcast, partly because it reminds me of home, and it gives me a connection to Nigeria, especially when I’m feeling homesick.

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During one of the episodes, the hosts discussed NYSC. For those who are unaware, NYSC (National Youth Service Corps) is essentially a one-year program that was created after the Biafran war (from July 1967 to January 1970) to promote unity amongst the youths of the country.

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Basically, the program requires college graduates to be posted or sent to a random state in the country (out of the total 36 states) where they then undergo rigorous orientation (including what seems to be ridiculous military exercises) to inform them of the various problems (infrastructure, education, sanitation and more) that the country suffers from.

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Ideally, this program should work as it has very good intentions. However, as is the case with many Nigerian programs or structures, the implementation of the NYSC program is derelict. The camps where the corpers (program participants) dwell in are poor in quality, and there is always a safety concern, because of the terrorism that is plaguing the country. Honestly, just listening to the hosts describe how they were forced to shower outside because the bathrooms are disgusting, or how multiple people are forced to dwell in a single room like sardines, makes me sob silently because I’m afraid that I’ll be forced to do the same when it’s my turn.

Now the only way I can avoid doing NYSC is by never returning to Nigeria to work. However, it is my goal to return because I want to make the country better. I want to utilize the skills that I am learning in the United States to benefit Nigeria, rather than benefit a country that I cannot call my own. Thus, it means that I can’t avoid NYSC and that I should silently accept it. But, honestly I have been praying that the program gets disbanded because “I’m not looking forward to suffering!”

I know that this makes me sound priviledged. There are many other people who would not get the opportunity to avoid NYSC, and there’s nothing that sets me apart from these people. Nevertheless, I can’t help but moan about the situation because rather than enjoying the program, and enjoying the process of meeting new people from all over the country, my mind would be focused on trying to survive. I’m not a fan.

There are no lessons in this post. I just wanted to rant. Anyone have any horror stories about NYSC that they want to share? Or maybe you’ve actually experienced NYSC, and it wasn’t as bad as I’m imagining. Feel free to comment.

Cheers!

–  M.

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