Before I start saying anything, it was the grace of God that kept me at camp. I must give Him thanks because he alone deserves that glory.
The last thing I expected was that I would stay at camp, let alone in a different state but somehow I did it. I survived camp in Benue state for 20 days. First of all, Dettol was my bestfriend. I baptised the bathroom with dettol every time I was going in to take my bath. Luckily the bathrooms were manageable but I always timed my baths to when the man had cleaned it in the morning and in the evening.
I moved around with my sanitiser in my pouch. I sanitised at every opportunity I got. Ebola might be gone but I won't take chances with other germs. I then got myself on antibiotics medication, thanks to a pharmacist who fancied me (making good use of the opportunity, right?). I was ill quite a lot at camp, irritations, flu, migraines but nothing major so thank God for that again.
Of course in a camp of over a thousand girls with different backgrounds, I had to be extra careful who I associated with. Luckily God blessed me with one good girl who I stuck with through out camp. Although I was friendly with all, I drew the line at our friendship. My motto was "friendly with all, friends with few". That way I avoided conflict. Because you don't want to know half of what these girls did when the sun went down. Sticking to one friend was about the best decision I ever made because I saved myself from the countless fights that broke out every hour in the hostels. I'm not kidding or exaggerating. If there wasn't a fight by the hour, something was wrong.
After I had mentally accepted that it was God's will I then decided to tune my thinking. Some days, I pretended I was in a Nigerian version of 'Orange is the New Black'. Oh yes. I assumed the role of Piper, except less annoying and naive and I was no one's prison's wife. I'm yet to figure out what my crime was, being too sexy I suppose. I actually found myself in handcuffs one day (platoon joke, not to worry), so it all blended in well. Whenever we had sanitation, I pretended it was community service -__-
Other days I pretended I was on a very low budget holiday in an uncivilised village somewhere in Africa. Yes. It worked. I constantly had to change it up so I wouldn't feel miserable. Other times I told myself I was writing a book and I was out here for research and experience. Lol I'm not crazy, I swear. But the truth is, if you change the way you see things, the way things are would change for you. I found that I never went to bed sad and I laughed almost every day because I fine tuned my mind. Works like a charm...
I tried to get as much from my orientation camp as I could because truth is, it's a once in a lifetime event. And it's situations like this that help us develop character. I've learnt a lot from the three weeks I stayed at camp. I learnt to be true to myself regardless of where I find myself. So many girls found this time as an opportunity to be loose. One girl in particular admitted that she wasn't going to redeploy because her family was too strict and she could get to do whatever she wanted away from them. So they fooled around with corpers and soldiers because they had found themselves a little freedom. Sadly, I was told some married women did this too. I also found that just because I wasn't in a five star hotel or in my home didn't mean I would neglect my personal hygiene. I still showered twice a day and cleansed and toned my face twice a day too. I gave my clothes for laundry everyday and I hydrated as much as I could. I say this because some girls left their manners as well as their hygiene at the gate or at their state border. It shouldn't be so. Always be a lady no matter where you are with whatever resources you have.
I saw life in a different perspective and came to appreciate the many blessings I have. It's so easy to become greedy and want more but sometimes you need to be taken out of your comfort zone just so you can see that there are people with way less than you have. Now I know I'm entitled to nothing but all I have, I've been privileged to have them. And for that I'm more than humbled and grateful to God. I learnt to appreciate the little things of life more.
I ate at only one woman's place in mami. A friend had introduced me there and she was kind enough to take orders from us ahead of the meal time. So while others ate the usual indomie and egg and fried foods that every other food place served, we occasionally got pancakes, fried rice and chicken, spaghetti etc. it's important to stick to one person because jumping from cook to cook could result in an upset stomach. And you really don't want that at camp. I was weary of eating meat at camp though and can count how many times I did even at the lady's place. Plus there was a funny rumour going on about some of this cooks using jazz to keep their customers, yikes.
Not to brag but I got male attention everywhere I went. And everyday a new boy approached me. I could never be alone because it created opportunity for them to walk up to me. Luckily I told a group of soldiers I was engaged and so I think they announced within themselves that I was off limits but still didn't stop the attention from the corpers. I had two options, enjoy the attention or carry myself the way I would want my daughter to. I took the second option.
There was never a quiet moment in the hostels except when everyone was asleep or out at the parade ground. As I found myself in the middle of Yoruba association room and a room of people they always stole from, it was always noisy. You wouldn't believe how loud it got *sigh*. I constantly had to plug in my earphones at the loudest volume to tune out or fall asleep. How I never got headaches, I don't know.
Anyways, camp is over and I'm glad it is. I learnt a lot and maybe your experience would be better than mine or not. I can't tell but if you don't try you'll never know. A big fat thank you to all who checked up on me and prayed for me while I was away. I'm home, safe and sound.