My Journey to Yikpata Camp

Its a universal truism that a “journey of a thousand mile begins with a step”. And a step not taken hinders experience. The NYSC orientation course though scheduled to begin on 21st November, I began my journey to Yikpata camp on the 20th as a result of the distance.

My journey that Monday morning began as early as 5 o’clock. The long hours of sitting which turned into day. Embarking on such a long distance journey, especially for the first time wasn’t a pleasant one for me. I developed a phobia for the unknown which was to come. Just like the advice Apostle Paul gave to his brethren in the book of Hebrews 6:12 which read thus; “And ye be not slothful but followers of them whom through faith and patience obtained the promises of God” This account was my guiding principle as far as this mission was concerned. It kept my faith intact.

On that morning we boarded a vehicle, I and my PCM colleagues were already in the vehicle when a serious fight between the agbero’s (touts) ensued and there was a mild blood bath. It was a gory situation that morning as my fears once again was aggravated. Thanks to the senior agberos who brought the situation to a halt. As we continued our long distance journey.

My journey was spiced up by the precepts I got from people who once wore the shoes I now wear. There were stories of all sorts about my destination ranging from the good to the best, and from bad to worst.The movement to some extent was an uneasy one, but I basked on the euphoria and enthusiasm of the location of the orientation camp, the distance and life in Yikpata. I zeroed my mind for the worst though hoping for the best. I got to Maraba park enroute to Yikpata.

On arrival, the security personnel conducted a stop and search exercise on us, where all our luggages were made naked and prohibited items seized to be returned at the end of the camp. I gazed at the environment while trying to secure an accommodation. I saw stuffy, dried and deserted buildings, lifeless trees. I couldn’t feel an iota of fresh air, but felt an intense atmospheric humidity and the scourging sun bearing its fangs. I was discouraged, albeit, my fears were waded off by the presence of the military officials. Immediately after securing our cubicles for a duration of three weeks, we began the registration process that would enable us get our kits. We were filled to a capacity in the all-purpose camp hall. With fans not working and in the stuffy hall we endured long receding queues.

I thought the registration queue would be the last queue. At the end of the registration which was seemingly unending after a duration of two days, the queuing continued. It dawned on me that I would have to queue for everything as far as the camp is concerned. We queue to get food, we queue to get water, and to get everything until the day we leave camp. Life in the camp is indeed, regimented.