Oh it’s not Niger as in the country but Niger a state situated in the north of Nigeria. Niger state is known to be the largest state in Nigeria and getting posted to the northern state for my NYSC camping was one that hit me like a grenade.
With zero knowledge about the state as I’ve almost not been anywhere outside the west of Nigeria. I agree with my curiosity who felt it could be a journey in discovery, which is one I always look out for even if the dimension of this was far beyond different.
Finding out there was no airport present in the state already gave me a glimpse of where I was going to, and I had to research on the closest state to Niger with an Airport. Boom! I was on the next flight to Abuja.
Yes I mean that literally because i was yet to book a ticket because of the shock about getting posted to Niger, and I only got one on the very day I was going which meant high charges of course. I got to the airport by past 3 and i was only wondering what time I was going to get to my final destination. Smooth flight and I approach Abuja in anxiety about the time because I really didn’t want it to get dark before I get to my destination, lmao, I probably wasn’t fully aware that the Journey from Abuja to the camp in Niger was three hours.
|Dana definitely can do better than basic snacks for brunch (snacks while going).
snacks while coming…
From Abuja, I took a cab from the airport straight to Zuba, and I was beyond nervous not only because I didn’t trust the driver but also because I encountered little delays at the airport in claiming my box and it was almost 6 already.
We got to Zuba and there was no vehicle on ground going to Niger and I was told to further go to Suleja, Niger. (they didn’t specify it was Niger though) to get a cab going to Minna.
Ignorantly, I took a bike that traveled between two states, and I think that was the best option because it was super fast and that was also very necessary considering the time, even though, the ride was very rough and at some point I felt I was already being kidnapped because the rider was passing in between villages and unknown places in the name of passing a shortcut to Niger from Abuja.
Oh well, it was already past 7 in Niger state and the car I boarded refused to fill up, 30 minutes passed by and I realized one hour could also pass by, so I thought the best thing was to pay for the remaining three empty seats, at least I’ll even be more comfortable I mutter to myself.
I bargain with the driver before he starts the trip that he’ll drop me exactly in front of the orientation camp which is off the road as I’m a complete stranger and everyone in the vehicle agrees without argument. I knew it was because of the move I made and not cause they took pity on me. I still appreciate their kind gestures.
About two hours on the road and I approach the camp by 9:56pm. It was very dark, so I could barely see what the place looked like, I think about how far I’ve come and only hoped to survive for the next not-so-few days.
CHALLENGES FACED AND HOW I OVERCAME THEM…
The first challenge of course was accepting to go to Niger in good fate.
ADAPTING TO THE NEW ENVIRONMENT:
As humans I learnt that we tend to have an inbuilt adaptive mechanism that helps us adjust to whatever environment we find ourselves in. Oh yeah, it wasn’t as easy, but after a few days I managed to get a grip of what was going on.
SURVIVING IN A STRANGE LAND:
This was a challenge actually, because of the fear of missing any of items and getting into trouble with the soldiers. I remember getting into trouble once for coming late for evening parade and yeah i frog jumped as a punishment, it was eight of us anyway, not like I was the only non compliant one.
WAKING UP EARLY FOR MORNING EXERCISES AND PARADE:
This was no doubt one of the biggest challenge because honestly I don’t like my sleep being interrupted as I love to sleep for long hours, and that clearly wasn’t the order of the day in Niger state, so yeah I learnt to adjust to the far too loud trumpet sounds that screams a few minutes before 4:30 am every damn day.
PROTECTING MY BELONGINGS:
I’ve heard so many stories about how stealing is very common and truthfully it made me a little scared because I didn’t want to lose anything I came with. So I already understood the kind of place I was and guarded my things jealously.
MY CAMPING HACKS
FORGETTING THE NUMBERS OF DAY I HAD TO SPEND:
I consciously forgot about how long 21 days was and decided to make the most of it and definitely I did as I was always all about learning new things about their culture, beliefs, way of life, and even the language they speak- Hausa. I put up a video on my IGTV (Instagram Tv) where I shared all the basics of Hausa Language I learnt.
PRETENDING TO BE TERRIBLY ILL WHEN NECESSARY:
This helped me avoid morning exercises and seminars on days I didn’t feel like it.
AVOIDING THE MEAL SHARED IN THE CAMP CAFETERIA:
This was as a result of people purging after the first few days because their body system was probably adjusting to their type of food.
Flagyl & Tetracycline came very handy when it was my own turn to purge as it helped reduce its intensity.
MOSQUITO NETS AND BLANKETS FOR COMFORT:
Mosquito nets to prevent mosquito bites. Blankets to keep you warm in the middle of the night and early in the morning when it is usually very cold. Pillows weren’t really necessary but it certainly added it’s own comfort.
You definitely need money to survive and the amount you might need could vary per person depending on how great you can survive given the situation.
Even if I could do my laundry myself, I decided to save my energy for times when i really needed it. Plus, those that even did their laundry themselves had their clothes stolen.
|when I was selected by my platoon leader to be a part of the kitchen committee for a day, and it was fun actually!
Day in Day out I updated my stories on my Instagram and a few people with the knowledge identified me as a blogger and yeah i didn’t have a squad I always walked around with as I was always too busy minding my business and creating content but I met a few people that were instrumental to my survival.
TOTAL TRANSPORTATION COST:
Road trips- N13,050
|my look for a carnival on Day 19 of 21.
|when I joined a photography vocation class and we were asked to produce three images for review in a few minutes.
I hope you had a glimpse of my three weeks camping in Niger state. Do leave me your honest feedback in the comments and thanks for stopping by!