It’s not something you forget easily
I still remember how I felt opening that letter and seeing I had just been posted to Jos (North-Central)
All my friends had been posted to states in South-South
Some, to Akwa Ibom, some, to Cross Rivers….
To South-Western states like Ogun, Lagos, Ekiti etc
As a graduate looking forward to National Youth Service…
Those were some of the states to kill for
I’m not sure if it was the opportunities, or the lifestyle, or the women… or the men… or just something in between
But it seemed everyone (including me) wanted to be posted to these states… (some even prayed about it…)
Yet, when the posting letters were out…
Everyone knew their fate.
Some couldn’t believe the person they paid money to help them “arrange the posting” hadn’t delivered…
They had been scammed
Some swore over the phone that they were going to teach the “scammer” a lesson (…. as if they wouldn’t have just gone to Abuja and fixed the posting themselves … if they had as much influence and power as they claimed to have)
A smaller % accepted their fate
And since neither I (or my Mom) paid anyone to “help fix my posting to a state of my choice”
I wasn’t surprised I had been posted to Jos
But my mom wasn’t having it
“God forbid! My child will never serve in the there, There’s Boko Haram there (as if Boko Haram was in every Northern state). So over my dead body… My child will not go to Jos. If they’re looking for innocent blood to shed, let them send their children there”
This was before I even got home from school
I was on the phone with my Mom
And I could hear my Aunt’s voice in the background…
Furious! (as if someone somewhere had deliberately posted me to Jos just to test her patience)
But by the time I got home…
She had calmed down a bit
Apparently, my Aunty had spoken to her after she asked me if I really wanted to serve in Jos (and I told her yes)
That I honestly felt it was a really good opportunity for me to see what life was like in Northern Nigeria
That there was really nothing to worry about:
Since Jos was easily the most peaceful state in the North at the time — July 2010.
Sadly, right now…
Things are so messy in that place, I can’t even imagine what life must be like for those living there today.
All those amazing people I met back then…
Nothing really stays the same forever.
And when the time finally came for me to leave for Camp Everyone was scared for me (only child… baby of the house… I was barely 25 at the time —got into Uni when I was 20-ish… and I had never been that far away from home…)
My mom prayed like never before
My cousins told me to be careful
Told me to always keep in touch with home no matter what happened… ( and to always remember that if I needed anything… all I had to do was reach out)
I think it was a Tuesday morning that I left
My mom dropped me at the bus park
Where I then bought a ticket for Jos
The bus was ready to leave
And as I took my seat…
I came to realize over 90% of the passengers were Youth Corpers (just like me…)
And the more I thought about it
The more it dawned on me:
Sure, you don’t all share the same dreams, tastes or values
Isn’t it true you are all entering a new Chapter of life where you don’t really know what to expect?
To be continued.