The one about National Youth Service in Edo

As I write this I'm in Okada, Edo state. I'm in a camp doing some paramilitary service as part of my year of national service. The blogging app I'm using hasn't got spell check so you'll have to make do with my typos. The internet here isn't that great either, so most of the time I can't be arsed to reply that message or reply that email or blog about that press release that you sent. About press releases, don't send them. I'm not interested in that event you held for your staff in that village. If it's got nothing to do with charity and it's got nothing to do with me, then don't bother. To get even a smidgen of reception I've got to stand underneath an almond tree with my phone held at eye level. I'll do it for the blog, or for that conversation with mama and papa Afam, or for that conversation with BFG or the soho sister or gbaddy or imoteda but I won't do it for some company that doesn't really care about me.

Some of you don't know where Edo state is so I'll tell you. It's somewhere east of Lagos (and you all know where Lagos is don't you? It's the fatty bit of Africa's arm just before the armpit, somewhere around Ghana) and west of Kenya. That should give you a rough idea. It would probably be better if I said it was west of Cameroon but none of you know where Cameroon is so Kenya it is. I would tell you where exactly in Edo state Okada is but I haven't got the slightest idea. 

Things here are dire. Of course I'm going to tell you how dire they are. This place is dying to be blogged about. First off, there are no toilets. Well there are but you're better off taking a shit outside, like this guy.

Yeah, that's a man with a plan. I did my first shit au naturel (that is to say I did it in nature). As at the time that I was contracting my abdominal muscles I was one with the flies that circled my ankles in anticipation for their next meal and the plants that knew that the heat of my shit was going to kill them. When I was done I wore a paper bag like a glove, picked it up, and flung it into the bush. The experience scarred me. The next time I needed to shit, I found my way to a respectable latrine. It seems that I'm fine with shit, as long as I don't have to touch it after I've dropped it.

The bag of water's for cleaning up. I wasn't joking when I told you that things were dire. Papa Afam says it's my punishment for being so clueless and street foolish, but I'm not getting any street smarter here. All I've proven is that I can shit in public no problem. 

My sleeping companion here is a lizard. It goes away during the day and comes back at night like a true squatter. I'm terrified of it. If I knock it down, it'll attack me while I sleep and kill me. I'm sure of this. You cannot convince me otherwise. 

The kit is also abysmal. My white trainers ripped on the first day so I had to get some plastic ones. They're the weirdest things I've ever seen. I suppose they're like feet condoms. 

The activities aren't that bad really. Except that you've got to stand under the sun for hours while doing nothing of value. I got sun burned. My face will start peeling soon. 

All of it would be unbearable if not for the people. I've made friends. I'd like to think that they're pretty decent but only time will tell. Some of you may be surprised that I've made friends so quickly but nothing forges the bonds of friendship more efficiently than suffering. 

Will I remain in Edo for the rest of the year? No. I'll be back in Lagos on the 26th of November. I may be back in Edo in January, and if I do come back in January I'll remain here till at least April. And that's sad, but life is sad, so it's alright I suppose. The beauty of it is that I can do this from anywhere, even if I've got to hug an almond tree for signal. Now I want to cry and when I think of the shit that I'll have to do tomorrow I want to cry even more. But I shan't cry and I shan't drop one until next week. I'll clench good.

Happy days,


Simply bellz said...

That's my state !!! never been to okada though. I guess you should go into benin city if you have friends from the area they can show you around. Have fun

Imoteda said...

BUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I feel such pity for you. Pele dear... And I would kill the lizard with a cutlass. Reptiles are gross

Oh btw... I just made my official debut on your blog. I now feel special.

Anonymous said...

Lol @ 'Shit au Natural' we called it 'shot put' while i was serving, cos we had to fling it into the bush.... (Ewwww... ) Just 10 days left.. Hang in there.. :)

Tweeny tee

WellUninspired said...

I simply didn't go.... And didn't eat either (much) . Made friends with the coordinator who bless his heart let mr poo in peace in his porta cabin loo the three times my body allowed me. Never again thank you Lord!

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