NYSC DIARY: [Port Harcourt Girl] The Magic of the Khaki

Whenever i wear my Khaki, magic happens all around me. Strangers bend back to help me. Everybody becomes super nice even bus conductors reduce N50 from my fare. Initially i thought my Khaki had come in contact with otumokpo but last weekend, i washed it thoroughly.

To my surprise, when i wore the Khaki on Thursday for general CDS, magic still happened. I got a free bus ride to Eti-Osa 3. I’m used to getting free rides from private individuals but not bus drivers. You know how Lagos drivers are; they don’t care about ‘staff’. Most speed past Police officers looking for free rides or say ‘oga no staff for here o’ if any officer wanders in accidentally.

The General CDS was boring. I was a bit late and had no place to sit due to the large crowd. Attendance register was closed before i got there. Even had to throw my CDS card in through an office window when nobody was looking because NYSC staff had stopped collection of cards. Well, i wasn’t the only one that did that- i’m not trying to excuse my bad behaviour. Will do the same thing next time i’m late but no be only me do am, cappish?

Found like minds at the Community development meeting after i had stood for like one hour hearing my LGI moan. We quickly relocated to the backyard of the Local government and sat on a sewage pit; thank God it was solid. We had our own meeting there. We argued about tribalism, Buhari and fake Lagos life. We then strategized for the next general CDS. Here’s the plan: We’ll show up early since we all live close, submit our cards, sign the attendance and go see a movie until 12noon. We’ll come back and get our cards. Ain’t nobody gat time to be hearing LGI whine non-stop.

Ah! I almost forgot. The facebeats i saw during the general CDS were crazy. Some girls probably emptied their entire powder plus foundation on their face, who are they trying to impress -NYSC boys? ; pfff ? . I and my new friends had fun comparing peoples’ face to their hands- omo the difference was clear like coke and fanta. The faces were always way whiter than the hands. The shape of the eyebrows were another thing. I swear, i saw a zorro sign on someone’s face.

My own makeup was on fleek sha, i didn’t do anything extra. Was just my regular self – i have pictures to prove it.

Eti-Osa Secretariat looked like a small car shop yesterday. It seems quite a number of corps members came with wheels and i came in a free bus (ah!, who threw sand on my face?) . I saw cars eh and my eyes almost popped out.

Finally sat down and figured out why people love to help corp members. To some helping corp members is a way of showing patriotism to Nigeria, to others it’s a way of reconnecting to their NYSC days- they offer you help and relive their experiences.

A few others offer help with negative intent. The help offered is to butter you and make you vulnerable to their ploys. They just want to use you; i’ll talk more on this some other time.

Something happened yesterday, don’t know if i should describe it as ‘weird’ or ‘hilarious’- i’ll let you decide. After CD meeting, i went out for Shawarma with my vegetarian friend- we’re in the same LG. We roamed round Circle Mall for a while discussing everything before saying ‘goodbye’. I was happy, just had a good outing. I boarded a bus across the road and dropped at VGC. One girl in red and black stripped gown dropped at the same spot. Noticed her immediately because she of her dress. We crossed the road together without a word to each other.

I stopped to use the ATM and i noticed her stalling. After using the ATM, i started strolling towards VGC gate. She was behind me, pretending to be on phone. We got to VGC gate, security waved me in based on recognition. Few minutes after i walked in; jejely going my way – one security guy called me back.

Me: (in my face accent) What’s the problem?
Security : (Pointing at the girl on red) Is she your visitor?

I stare at her for a few long seconds. She does her best to smile sweetly and is blinking furiously. It’s like she’s trying to say something with her eyes.

Me: I don’t know her

Security : (addressing the girl on red) Ashawo. (Turning to me) Madam, i’m sorry for wasting your time.

As i walk away i hear the other security guys throw insults at the girl. Maybe, i would have helped her if she had asked nicely before we got to the gate. I’ve heard tales about girls like her – no judgement. They dress up, pretend to be residents and get into VGC. They stand by the road so they can meet men via free rides.

If they’re lucky, the man becomes a sugar daddy or a one time customer. I don’t judge their trade. I never judge people except if they’re public figures and even then i never judge them until they stray into the headlines for the wrong purpose. Everybody has a right to pick their hustle, I’ve seen girls build a legitimate life from sugar daddy runs. I’ll never do it but then i can’t judge them – life is per head.

I understand how hard life can be. Just the other day, the guys at my PPA shared a horrible reality with me – there are graduates in Nigeria going out to work everyday- i meaning paying transport money everyday , buying lunch – who earn less than 25K a month.

I’ve worked for less but only as a freelancer. I didn’t have to buy lunch or pay transport fare- the only thing required was cheap 2k Airtel bundle. I argued passionately with them that it was impossible for people to earn such as graduates . They further shocked me by announcing that some of those low income workers actually wear suits to work and have a family to cater for. I have always known that poor people exist, i’ve seen people lap in buses but i never really thought that the situation was that bad.

Lagos is forcing me to wake up to a reality i’ll rather not face.

 

Source: Nigerian Bulletin

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