In March 2014, I arrived at the NYSC (National Youth Service Corps) Camp in Yikpata, Kwara State, Nigeria. Faced with the harsh reality of having to live in a condition and environment I wasn't used to, I feel into a depression that lasted for almost a week. But as it is with human nature, I adjusted to life in Yikpata after the first week.
Life in Yikpata (as it is in all NYSC camps all over the country) involves waking up at 5am to attend early morning military parade, queuing for food and water, attending seminars and evening parade. Then there were the recreational activities which include march past, tug of war, different sports, cooking, camp fire night and so on.
As expected, the soldiers who were our handlers liked giving us a tough time. A lot of things were restricted and you had to identify with a number in everything you do, including tagging your phone and everything you own. As much as there were rules, they were frequently broken; like the person who always wore only one leg of shoe and sock and a rubber slipper on the other leg. Also, bailing camp was illegal but people drew a map with escape routes on a wall.
Yikpata being an arid land has water problems in the dry season. You either endure long queues to fetch unclean water or use all your strength to pull a deep-well hand-pump. The locals often comes to our aid by selling water they fetched from a dry stream.