At last the line went through and was able to chat a bit after 2 days of incommunicado.
“It was the election, very stressful” My niece told me.
“Were you paid?”
“Yes, we were, 10k naira”
My niece went on with her version of what went on ground at her election poll station. Corpers in her area have no choice of opting out of election clerk assignment, everyone allocated a place must report to duty.
I thought it was cool they get paid for their time however, what I think is incredible most was the opportunity for Corpers to see first hand how Nigeria leaders are elected and in many occasions ‘selected’.
Mid last year when my niece was preparing for her NYSC assignment so I read a bit online what Nigeria youths thought of their one year service and how incoming Otondos can best prepare for the journey.
I was thoroughly entertained reading from my nation’s youths – most older than 21. The common message from young men was that NYSC year was the year to ‘connect with God’- Really? People in this category will come back home full grown adults and still expect parents to feed them, so I moved on.
The other popular ‘advice’ from young men was that NYSC year was the year to let lose of their ‘dragons’ Really? Do you need a whole year to get laid? To this folks, I say grow up.
Ladies cracked me up a bit as their NYSC year was the year to look for husband.
Niece was posted to a remote village in Plateau state.
Mates were super cool and neighbours nice. I trusted a 23 years to be old enough to make her own decision but I was concerned that being away from home, one need to keep feeding mind with reminders that there are more options than getting laid/marriage/religion to focus on with spare time.
During the three week at the camp, the group was divided into smaller ones, each allocated taster lesson of a few skills i.e bead making, ICT and leather work.
My niece was in leather work group, she loved the program. After the camp, the tutor offered to continue teaching if enough Corpers could form a group.
Eight from her PPA coughed out 15k naira for 10months for twice a week lesson, fee included materials.
When niece was going to her station in January, my advice was to make sure she managed to live with 19k naira of government monthly stipend – little but reality is most Nigerian graduates would not be able to make that after service year.
If it’s proving difficult, be creative and find a way to supplement your income so you don’t rely on anyone to top up – dependancy don’t last.
At her place of primary assignment, she has one SS3 class students to teach twice a week. The school pays 3k naira. She took a second job at a school nearby teaching them same subject, chemistry twice a week, that school pays 4k naira.
After three months, niece has made a big tote, a clutch and currently working on a messenger bag.
“Okay, please tell me sister, how do you manage to fit in your leather work and soap making ‘enterprise’ in all of these?” I asked.
Her response was plenty of belly laugh on the other side, she loved the independent life and the chance to be creative while making the best of her time.
What I know for sure was that even if for some reason my niece didn’t go back to university to finish up what she wanted to do, she is definitely not going to be used as a political tout or waste her time running after immigration vacancies to hell.