It feels like just yesterday that I carried a box on my head as I waited for the long line at the entrance of the Obubra Cross River State NYSC orientation camp site, asking my self who sent me to serve sef. 

*For my international readers, the national youth service program is a compulsory one year training course for all Nigerian Graduates. I completed  the first phase last year which is a training camp, blogged about here and after 9months I have completed the second and final phase.

Oh how I struggled to sleep with the bites and buzzing of mosquitoes which has changed the face of my body. How I queued just to shower with white detol Infused water that made me just miss the comforts of my toilet at home. How I lost tons of weight and got shades and shades darker by endlessly marching for hours and hours under the harsh Obubra sun. I remember it vividly, how I cried on the phone when I was posted to what seemed like a remote village and how my dad raged that they would send an "I just got back" to a village.  Oh how I wrote a long post about camp life here. Oh How time flies.

It still seems surreal that I've successfully completed one year of service to my dear country, Nigeria. There will no longer be corper Shaun greetings from strangers. I won't have to wear the unattractive Adjuwaya which is now lying in a bin somewhere, with the exception of my crested vest though. No longer will I have to go through the stress of clearing for a monthly 19,800 allowance which went nowhere especially in this recession. I'm filled with a mix of emotions, it feels bittersweet.

In a dream I came to calabar and in that same dream, I said my goodbyes, packed my way too many bags wondering how I had managed to accumulate so much stuff in under a year. As a mass communication graduate being able to serve in Hit FM 95.9, the first private radio station in Calabar was a blessing and a curse. On one hand, I gained so much professional working experience but since I worked as an editor and reporter in the news department, I spent my holidays and weekends, especially Sunday's at work. I still wonder how the service year would have been if I had taught in the college of Education, Obudu, my initial place of primary assignment before I was called by the station. Recall my trip to the Obudu cattle ranch here

I not only developed myself professionally this year but the blog grew in ways I can not explain. Having the awesome locations of Calabar was a big plus and it beefed up my photography and shout out to my cousin A.A and blog reader, turned blog photographer, turned friend, Beniboba for helping a sister out with pictures. Learning how to sew through the NYSC Skills Acquisition and training program was a major plus too, I learned the basics of sewing for less than 5k.

I met so many interesting people, made a few new friends, tried new dishes, explored the ancient city and learned new things about myself. I met celebrities, like Don Jazzy, Omoni Oboli, MC Galaxy, Sunny Eneji and Rugged man to name a few. I'll never forget the first time I went on air during a show, or my first jingle for a pizza company and my several experiences casting entertainment news. I may have been stressed for the most part but it was so worth it.

  I honestly did not connect with fellow corpers as much as I had hoped, this is something I quite regret. People always say I'm too reserved but in reality I'm not, I just like to take my time in getting to know people and I've never believed in forcing relationships or friendships. But I'm glad I made a few good friends.  For a globe trotter and traveller it's still a struggle saying good bye and moving on but I guess you could say it gets easier with time.

I met up with fellow bloggers too 

 Chakie and Zahzee of ourblogazine blogged about here 

Midecoker who took these pictures here

Ugo of Beautiful Eagle, blogpost here

So what will I miss about Calabar?
Well I'll miss all the delicious Efik dishes I tried and learned how to make at my Aunties place, ranging from Afang soup, bitter leaf soup, white soup, fisherman soup, ekpang, edikikong soup. Shoutout to my aunt and her family for making my service year go with such an ease, that wouldn't have been the same without them.

I'll miss the quietness and smallness of the city, having to only spend less then 10 minutes commuting to work was a dream compared to the two hours I spend on the road simply trying to get to town from my home in Abuja. Most of all,  I'll miss the ease that comes with blog photography in Calabar, nobody asks unnecessary questions and the vast array of picture spots ranging from Hope Waddell to Tinapa Resort was a delight. 

All in all thanks be to God for a successful service year, it has been him all the way guys. Now onto the next phase of getting a job. 

Most people feel that the NYSC scheme should be scraped,  I did too at first but after my service year I think I've changed my mind.  All I would say is that the government should revise the scheme and post people to places where they won't be redundant. 

What was a highlight of your service year? And where did you serve? Do you think the scheme should be scraped? Let me know in the comments. 

Stay tuned for upcoming posts documenting my time in Calabar. 

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ann usman said...

ohhh this nysc thing gives me chills if i happen to move to nigeria i have to???
.....but i guess its a good experience ....

Sarah Enuwa Audu said...

Actually girl you don't have to. You could get an exemption letter but you must settle someeople. And honestly it's not so bad if you serve in a good place.

Berry Dakara said...

Congratulations!!!!!!!!!! I know how the ending might be bittersweet, but not too long from now you'll be thanking God it's definitely over. As in, you'll see current corpers and feel slightly bad for them :p

The highlight of my NYSC year honestly would be the friends I made at work, and starting to blog. Outside of those, NYSC was a dud. The original idea behind NYSC is a good one, but the management and execution has been faulty for a very long time.

Berry Dakara Blog

Praise Abu said...

Congratulations Sarah.
This was a fun read, very insightful as well. I may have just a lil change of heart about the scheme afterall. I completely agree with you the programme should be revised and people should be given the option to serve their country or do something productive within the course of that 12 months.
My service year hasn't been so rosy, I really don't know if I should blame my state of deployment or it's probably my mindset about the whole scheme that won't let me enjoy it. The struggle for monthly clearance makes me develop so much dislike and the fact that I haven't made so much friends isn't helping as well, like you I don't force friendships and I like to take my time to get to know people.
I still have some months left and I have faith that things might change, hopefully I can share a beautiful experience like you just did and let people know that the Scheme is not a complete waste of time afterall.
My Style Look Book Series

Grace Alex said...

AWW, congrats love. I guess if you made much friends leaving would have been a tad bit harder, hopefully we could go revisit calabar together,loved that you grew in your place of primary assignment and I will miss your colonial building shots.

Good to have you back

Thonia Okonji said...

I'll keep saying my service year was one of the best things that happened to me. I met amazing friends, I grew a lot emotionally, physically, intellectually and in so many ways. It's funny that I thought I was going to meet my future husband there ( covers face) but that didn't happen. It shouldn't be scrapped at all because it' serves as a platform to grow in so many ways. I wasn't ready for life after university but with Nysc I got to grow into a person that was ready with the skills and other necessary things.

P.S I wanted to serve in Calabar so bad

ARAMIDE said...

Serving in calabar was an amazing experience. One thing I particularly loved was their hospitality, they're very nice people over there. I loved the food as well especially because it was nice and very affordable. Initially I was very sceptical about the whole thing because like you I was posted to a very far village after obudu, I heard they didn't even have constant light and water there, I almost died! After sorting that out, I was relieved and I had a great time in my Place of primary assignment. I wished I visited Obudu and Tinapa though. I miss the 19800 too I wont lie😢😢.
I agree with you that the scheme should be revised rather than scraped.
P.s-it was nice to meet you too😊

Ebun Bello said...

I'm so glad you wrote this post. You've totally motivated me to do same when I pass out next year. I was posted to Osun State and I was pretty optimistic because it was one of the places I wanted to serve because proximity, I also wished for Calabar or Akwa Ibom tho. Anyways my optimism kinda died when I was posted to a town that's quite local but so far I've realized it's not that bad after all, the cost of living is okay and the commute to my PPA is about 15 minutes something that can't happen in Lagos. I've also met so many people and even made a super close friend (he's pass out now though ��) but point is I'd never have met these people if not for the scheme. I sort of want it scrapped tho because I see it as a waste of a year but so many people would be unemployed soooo it's much better if they improve on the scheme although this country is so corrupt I don't see that happening any time soon. All in all the scheme has its pros and cons. I'd really miss your vintage locations �� and I hope you get the job of your dreams ASAP.
P.S- I'm sorry for the long ass comment I just had a lot to say.

Ncheayi Eni Ele said...

It looks like you had fun, can't wait to start mine and experience the lifestyle. I am so looking forward to it

Sarah Enuwa Audu said...

Thank you Berry and yeah now I see corpers and just think to myself, Sarah youre done with this. Yeah a highlight of my NYSC would be my collegues at work too. And yeah the officials need to revise the scheme.

Sarah Enuwa Audu said...

Thanks praise. I'm glad this made you reconsider and yeah perhaps more options might be better. And girl whike your state of deployment might be a factor, if you change your mindset, you could make the most of the service year. I hope things change for you and I look forward to reading your post.

Sarah Enuwa Audu said...

Thanks Grace and thats one way to look at it. Yes to revisiting Calabar. Im glad I grew there too and I'll also miss those buildings

Sarah Enuwa Audu said...

Thank you Thonia, your experience is proof that the scheme is not so bad. And lol maybe you've met your husband but he could be just a friend. I think you would have liked serving in Calabar.

Sarah Enuwa Audu said...

I loved their hospitality and food too. Thank God we worked out our PPAs. And you could always visit those sites some day but honestly there is nothing in Tinapa. It was nice meeting you too girl.

Sarah Enuwa Audu said...

I do hope you enjoy your experience as much as I did.

Sarah Enuwa Audu said...

Lol no worries, here on Princessaudu we love long ass comments. Yeah the scheme does have its pros and cons and people will always have differing opinions. Glad you are making the most of your service year. And like you said the scheme offered you oppurtunities that you never would have expereinced without it. I hope you write your own post too and please tag me, I'd love to read it. The job will come and thank you.

Leestyleport said...

Wow! This is a good one. I am from Calabar and I can say you were able to go to places of Importance in the state. I also served but in Lagos and I would say I had great experience too. Thanks for sharing yours. Come to think of it I should also share my experience on my blog. Thanks for the motivation...

Anonymous said...

Wow. It was interesting reading this. You make it sound so easy. Anyways, I am scared and at the same time looking forward to mine this year.

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