As NYSC finally says adieu, I can’t but look back at my one year in this place and smile…. I remember my shock and utter dismay when I was handed my call up letter and saw Ondo state instead of Lagos or Abuja. All my runz, all the credit wasted on ass-kissing phone calls, all the people who had genuinely tried to help, everything went down the drain… I braced myself! I was definitely too old to be crying about such things. Anyone who knew me knew Anita was far from a rolling stone! Much as I liked adventure, I liked it only on familiar territory. Anyway nothing could be done. I had three choices, go to the land unknown, sit at home till the next batch of nysc or not go to camp and try to work another state. The last two didn’t sound like very smart ideas so I packed myself and my luggage and three classmates also in the same boat and with dutch courage marched into foreign land. Camp was something else. I hated it. Never ate the food. Depended on mammy market like it was a junkie’s cocaine stash. Had a camp boyfriend, he was cute too! Escaped the early morning drills since doctors are always on call 😉 and even argued with the clinic coordinator! Yes it was the emancipation of Kome! I had a love-hate relationship with Ikaare akoko camp. Being carried up the mountain by two strong guys cos I was about to faint was only fun in retrospect! The endurance trek in too-tight, jungle boots was a walk to remember, my feet almost lost their daintiness! Being chastised and almost punished for not doing miss nysc by my hausa platoon oga was ridiculous. I no be lepah, na by force?!!! Like all things in life, camp came to an end! Then there was the PPA. Slept in a hotel for four days while waiting for the health management board to sort themselves out, more emancipation! Yay me! By a stroke of luck and a pot-bellied leering man who finished from UNILAG and hoped helping me get a spot in Akure would earn him a place under my skirt (poor disillusioned fat man!) I ended up in the only General Hospital in Akure. I love kids and in my usual forwardness, begged to be posted to paediatrics, I was to learn not too long after that I was the first corper in the history of State Specialist hospital Akure to make such an absurd request. No wonder the CMD hastily agreed. I hadn’t done my homework silly ole me! Paediatrics was the most dreaded department in the hospital, the call duty and workload were unrivaled and crazy as hell! This was a classic case of willingly putting my hand into fire and I was stuck! Two months down the line it occurred to me that no one knew I could speak Yoruba when my colleagues sitting right by me began to discuss me like I wasn’t there! The office for a while seemed to be a battle ground. I’d call my mom frustrated at what seemed to be my colleagues’ obvious victimization and I’m sure they got tired of the Lagos girl! I worked hard and the patients and nurses loved me and soon my colleagues and I settled into an almost cordial symbiotic relationship! I’m alarmed to actually say out loud that I’ll miss them. I had mad fun in this funny little town. Rode my first bike here, had my first road traffic accident here, started my blog while eating boli and groundnut on my mattress one sunday afternoon and made all sorts of friends! Ditched a few too! Not everybody that says hello beautiful is NOT a stalker! Had a birthday party here, eventually finished a bottle of baileys out of boredom. A sip a day and a month later the bottle was empty! Oh well…told you I wasn’t an alcoholic! Learnt to cook edikainkong here (Don’t ask!). Saw my first case of female genital mutilation here, it made me appreciate my clit! Climbed many mountains and walked a mile in a pair of heels, all in Akure! My Akure scrap book along with mementos of all my friends would have some retrospective useful tips as well as extraordinary sights to look out for. Here are a few of them -No matter how much shakara you have with your Louis Vuitton bag and Brazilian hair, an okada man will not hesitate to toast you! The men here chop liver die! -Don’t open your mouth rudely if you see a goat standing behind another drinking its piss, they are freaky like that and thirsty too! And if you happen to kill a goat, run for your life, the goats are sacred! -Ever seen a girl pee standing? That’s normal in Akure! The women have perfected the art and can shoot a stream as far as any man, given the right angle of the hips! -Don’t be alarmed if you see a man and a woman on a bike and the man is sandwiched between the driver and his woman! He isn’t being inconsiderate, he is actually preventing her boobs from distracting the driver and the women prefer this un-chivalrous position cos then they don’t get to feel the man’s thingie poking them in their back if it suddenly awakens! Don’t give me funny looks, I asked my hairdresser!!! This is authentic Akure gist! So guys where an Akure chic is involved, forget about being a gentleman and protecting her by letting her sit in the middle. -Don’t be uncomfortable when your neighbor’s goat is relaxing in the sitting room. He’s a member of the family and needs to watch TV too! -It’s also quite normal here to dance bare-footed at a club! A chic’s sandal strap cut just outside the club and her date offered to take her home, she refused, insisted on still clubbing and she danced all night! Too gbaski! These girls are too cool for shoes! -And of course their numerous festivals. You get to stay off work on those days and the guys get to force a chick to sleep over during ORO festival cos they tell her they can’t take her home after a night out cos the masquerades will flog her and so she has to choose the lesser of the two kobokos! -Pounded yam is a local delicacy and you don’t have to spend more than 50 bucks to enjoy it! -Most of the girls are hot till they open their mouths and you are transported to the sequel of Jenifa! (Sulia kan, ayetoro kan!) ‘Hi ham onestly appy to meet your hacquintance!’ -Well water is the order of the day and it’s water with a sense of fashion, changes with the seasons, brown during harmattan, grey during rainy season and clear on blue moons only! Dettol is a must! As essential as oxygen unless you need a hug from Mr Crawcraw! I’ll miss this place! I’ll miss having only 3 eateries in the whole town- one Tantalizers, one Mr Biggs and two Chicken Republics. It makes your eating-out experience quite straight forward and you become regular customers! Everytime I stepped into Chicken Republic I’d say good afternoon and the attendant would reply, good afternoon doctor, shall I order your usual? Just like a 5 star restaurant! 😉 My usual by the way was chickwhizz, coke and icecream! They don’t call me ‘ijekuje’ or ‘medemede’ for nothing! I’ll miss hearing ‘o yagbe’, ‘o n bi’, ‘ara e n gbona’. My patients insisted I understood their language and spoke it to me earnestly. I’ll miss the cheapness, my allowee was ok money here! Lagos is so expensive compared to this town! Life here was so easy. I’ll miss men wearing body magic! In akure when a man gets fat he tucks his tummy away in a corset! Google it if you don’t know what body magic is! Men are no more the only ones in for surprises when the lights come on in the bedroom. The woman’s padded bra is rightly matched by her lover’s corset! I’ll miss Mandos and Nao supermarkets…shopping experience almost like lasgidi! I’ll miss being cat-called at, all because I was in corper uniform, even by granpas! I won’t miss singing…’Youths obey the clarion call…’ I won’t miss constant okada hopping! I won’t miss fetching water from a well 24-7 I won’t miss my salary check bouncing almost every month! In three weeks I’ll be passing out and in the days following it, life as I’ve known it this past year will be no more. Just memories! I went in a girl, I left a woman! (It’s not what you think!) I went from ajebuta to streetwise and I made some friends I’ll cherish forever. Most importantly I was emancipated! I finally left the nest! Mama’s proud of me. The real world awaits now. My prayer for my fellow corpers passing out soon is that we will never become part of the unemployed demographic. That the Lord will bless us with good jobs and all we need to start life on a sure footing. So as I say adieu to the town that has stolen my heart, I urge you all to quit daydreaming and get back to work! Have a lovely day peeps! 😉 xoxoxo
I love Akure! There, I said it!