What corp members should know before heading to the camp ground. Actually, before I went to the NYSC camp in the year 2017 in Katsina state (Nigeria), I have little or limited knowledge about the camp and life over there.
But thanks to my biological mother (Mrs. Mariah Oduigwe, may Almighty God reward you abundantly Nneoma’m), who gave me motherly advice including medical treatment because she is a nurse.
She told me about the challenges I’m going to face there in the unknown environment and as usual inject me with supportive medicines.
Now however, I’m writing this very article not because of the passion I have about health in general but also for the experience I had back then in Katsina state orientation camp, along Mani road.
And I believe that I’m in the very good position to share my experience to my brothers and sisters who will soon be at the NYSC orientation camp soon and for the sequel ones that are yet to come.
Nwanne’m (my brother or sister), fear not as my experience will act as a guide to make you have a very wonderful and fun-filled 21-day NYSC orientation camping despite the Coronavirus guidelines.
However, some of the challenges potential corp members face before embarking on their journey includes fear of the UNKNOWN, struggle to fit in or adjust to a new environment, anxiety, homesickness, the three weeks discomfort of camping in a new place, and of course, health challenges.
Thankfully, unless you have been dealing with any medical challenge, all you need to survive from is the small headache and maybe running stomach that is inevitable especially if you eat from the camp kitchen which simple over-the-counter medications can proffer solution.
In 2017 or before then, the NYSC made it compulsory for prospective corp members to obtain a Medical fitness certificate from a general or military hospital before going to camp.
The purpose of this was to exclude individuals with medical concerns from the strenuous morning drills and campground exercises.
The new requirement was necessary after countless reports of corpers collapsing, and a few dying while taking part in camp activities from the previous years.
The NYSC also makes sure that every camp, regardless of your state of deployment, has a camp clinic where sick corp members are cared for by other corpers with medical backgrounds, nurses and doctors.
In cases where the clinic lacks the right equipment to manage an illness, the patient will be transferred to a hospital where they can be cared for, and the NYSC will make a refund of the medical bills to the patient.
What Corp Members Should Know Before Heading To The Camp Ground
However, below are those things a potential corp members should have in mind before departing for the orientation camp.
MEDICAL CHECKUP FIRST:
Is no longer news that Nigeria is also facing Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, going for medical checkup before embarking on your journey will help you and your family members to know if you are really suffering from any hidden medical challenges or not.
Remember that where you are heading to is the LAND OF UNKNOWN. So making sure that you sound health-wise is so paramount. You can also include face mask in order to avoid any air-borne diseases.
Having extra cash is very important, bearing in mind that anything can happen any moment (although we don’t pray for such negative things to happen).
Secondly to this, is that the environment is not familiar as you need to adapt to it within some days after arrival at the camp.
So therefore, having extra cash will help you put some few things you need in place.
For Corp members posted to Northern Nigeria (I served in Katsina state, Batch-A 2017), you need to prevent against cholera, measles, guinea worm and meningitis.
However, it can be quite pricey to get vaccinated in a private hospital, so visiting a government hospital, I believe, is the best.
WATER FOR REHYDRATION:
Water is also a significant cause of illness both in camp and in some places of primary assignment especially if you are being posted in the North.
Here, having a water bottle is an added advantage and it’s very necessary. Also, corp members are advised only to drink clean table water or use water guards for filtration at their place of primary assignment.
With the occasional outbreak of waterborne diseases in some areas where there is a single or no good source of water, one can never be too careful when it comes to waterborne diseases.
MOSQUITO NETS AND REPELLENTS:
Malaria is no new illness in Nigeria anymore, and you are well aware that most camps are hosted in open places, secondary schools or campsites with bushes around and that can be home to mosquitoes.
Thankfully, there are several mosquito nets and repellent creams, and sprays that you can purchase from your local pharmacy, online or at the market before going to the camp.
Remember, you can get these in some camps but they are a little bit expensive there and you are not 100% sure about its availability in the camp.
OTHER NECESSARY MATERIALS: When shopping for camp supplies, remember to shop for the following:
- A pack of paracetamol for pain relief
- Pain killers for cramps and joint pains
- Over-the-counter medications for running stomach
- Vitamin C to boost your immune system
- A disinfectant such as Dettol (or medicated soap) because you will be making use of public toilet at the camp
- Sanitary pads for ladies in case of………..(Na you sabi)
- Shaving sticks
- Shower caps
- Extra socks for sleep
- Hot balm for cold days
- Also remember to get your own bucket to avoid stress or stories that touch the heart.
If you have sensitive skin, then you may have to deal with pimple outbreak, sunburns, or even eczema when your bath water or the scorching sun decides to welcome you to your temporary home for 21-days.
Don’t forget to put your sweater because of the cold or raining reason. To avoid such heartbreak, make sure to go camping with the following: Sunscreen, moisturizer and lip balm, if possible.
The government takes it upon themselves to provide food for corpers throughout their 21-days stay in the camp.
However, it is better to be SAFE than SORRY as not every food that comes out of the camp kitchen will be friendly with your health system or stomach.
If you do not wish to spend your money buying food or snacks from the Mammy market (there’s almost no way you won’t end up buying snacks), then you need to purchase these: Cereal, cocoa powder or tea, a pack of cabin biscuits, crackers, or any biscuits of your choice, GARRI and GROUNDNUTS (Please Nwanne’m never forget to come with this very two because of the UKNOWN “HUNGER”), milk and sugar, chin-chin or chips.
Another problem that most Corp members might face is a disturbed sleep cycle. Camping is usually fun-filled, especially at night, so you might find yourself whispering to your roommates even after lights-out and sleeping for only three to four hours as the case may be.
The problem here comes when you have to wake up earlier than usual to prepare for the morning devotion/parade. The result of this new sleep routine includes: Weakness, headaches, tired looking eyes, less productivity etc.
To avoid sleep issues, make sure to purchase a sleep kit consisting of earplugs to block out noise (if possible), sleep blindfold (to block out light), and sleep socks (to keep your feet warm).
Make deliberate efforts to sleep as early as 8-pm so that you can be well-rested and ready for the next day healthy.
This may be almost impossible to achieve, considering how much fun you will be missing, but sleeping early and waking up feeling energized is the best routine to avoid headaches, tiredness and it will help you maintain healthy lifestyle in the camp.
These are the most common challenges you may face while camping. Some of these issues or others which I did not mention in this very article may also be encountered at your orientation camp for the 21-days you will be there.
However, this article is specially tailored to help you stay in the best shape during the 21-days you have to stay in the UNKNOWN LAND.
Never forget that your 21-day under the sun or in the rain, is a fun-filled period of your one year service and without a sound mind and body, your service year will not be as memorable as you want it to be.
Although, things might not be same as a result of Covid-19 pandemic. But all the same, try as much as you can to remain safe and catch fun.
Congratulations!!! Coppa Weeee!!!!!
From your eminent brother, Oduigwe Chidera Dok, may God see you through from the orientation camps and beyond.
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