20 – 10 – 2007

21 – 6 = 15 more days to go.

Sabbath Day.

Platoon 17 assembled like all others, for drills this morning, but we were not happy. We jogged out of camp as usual, but in the other direction this time. A diesel tanker was inching along by our small clusters of platoons, on our way back, when the soldiers stopped him, an almost flogged him to death. It was a serious case of brutality. It brought back to my mind, a question I have been asking, “Who incorporated the Military Training into the NYSC programme? Why? Why weren’t other disciplinary organizations utilized, like Man – O – War?” Hopefully these questions will be answered someday.

After the jogging was drills, after drills was breakfast and after breakfast was environmental sanitation. I was standing in the sun like the others, when I got a mysterious phone call. “Come to the State Director’s Lodge immediately”. I ran, really scared, towards the general direction of where the signs said it was located. When I got there, I sighed with relief when I was told that it was for church – the pastor of a nearby branch of Seventh – Day Adventist Curch, and the Kabiyesi (King) of Eded had come to plead with the State Director to allow us to leave the camp and return after the service. Of course they were granted the permission to take us out. Thankfully praising God, I went to change to mufti, told my platoon leader about the two of us that were going, and then headed for the meeting point. Then I got terrible news.

Kanny had been rushed to the General Hospital for blood tests. It was serious, Ben had gone with him. That was on one side of my mind, then the fact that my platoon was to serve punishment and I was going out of camp was on the other side of my mind. I was just praying that I wouldn’t be enrolled for Witches & Wizards parade (Midnight drill). I called Ben, and he said they were on their way to the hospital, that Kanny was ok.

Attending the service was a marvel. We were taken through Adventist Grammar School, to the Church on the premises. I felt humbled and awed to be in the same church my father had worshipped in, some thirty – something years before me. The trees he’d planted were giant figures now. The church is old and quaint. It was a communion service, and the pastor tried, he was rushing up the program so we could get back to the camp before the stipulated 2 p.m. We made it back in time.

I got back to hear that Platoon 17 really suffered. The three platoons that were the last in the competition were instructed to assemble by noon for tests again, for an hour. Each platoon assembled earlier of course, to practice in preparation for the tests. I heard that out of the three, platoon 17 came last. The Camp Commandant told the platoon to repeat the whole set up again and again, about four times. The whole platoon was discouraged and sad. Some even cried. The other soldiers couldn’t take it anymore – they opened up to the platoon on why they were being treated cruelly. The Camp Commandant hated our drill instructor and wanted to shame him. In fact, the three platoons that had come last, did co because he disliked their instructors, and ours was the worst. Theis news, plus the soldiers’ encouragement, gave the platoon members strength. After the fourth time of doing the drill perfectly, the Camp Commandant could not find any fault and promised hell for them if they failed in the next drill competition.

Ask me what we were asked to do. Simple left turn, right turn, about turn, mark time (match on one spot), forward match and halt. That is all o! personally I thank God I wasn’t there because I doubt if I would have been able to keep my anger down and my mouth shut.


xi said…
So your camp commandant was misbehaving?


Why didnt someone stone him with an egg (one that has been duly 'sanctified' by a babalawo oh).
Daydah said…
@xi: no "sanctified egg" to throw o.
xi said…
ah-ah? I thought you said your camp was in the bush? You'd have gone to the neighbouring forest to find babalawo now....