As a serving corp member posted to a typical village where there is no power supply, easy water access, good network, and some other basic amenities, yes it may be difficult to accept your new situation and then start adapting to it. But if you know you have no means of changing your status, you just have to accept your fate and learn ways to make the best of where you are.
Picture this: you got to your PPA after fighting to be posted to a nice place only to find out that it is located somewhere you have to climb 7 mountains and swim 7 seas to get to and still see more trees than people! Yup, it may be your worst nightmare come true especially when your employer has bluntly refused to reject you so you can try your luck elsewhere! In this case, you may have little choice but to go home, pack your bags and resume to your new PPA aka the land of the amazons!
So let’s say you get back to resume work and you realize that:
– Your new place is somewhere you have to walk about 10 minutes before getting to the community after been dropped off.
– You pay to charge your phone and other devices, and still end up using them for a few hours a day.
– You pray for rain to fall so you can have water to use for cooking, bathing, washing etc and when there’s no rain, you pay to buy water.
– To get to the closest bank, you’ll spend about #1200 (naira), even if you just need to withdraw a thousand naira or want to go resolve some issues.
– The village houses have no male toilet or bath room which means they use the river for their conveniences!
– And many other things on the list you feel you can’t cope with.
But do you know that serving in a village is not the end of the world? Here are some advantages of being a village corper you may not have thought of:
1. Lots of free time: Serving in a village affords one the opportunity of having lots of free time on one’s hands. This may be because there is really not much to do especially when everyone is out looking for survival. You decide what you do with your time.
2. Self-responsibility: Serving in a village, especially an typical one, implies that you are solely responsible for yourself. There’ll be no parents, mentor, or religious person to be accountable to, if you don’t want to. This can be an advantage or a disadvantage.
3. Opportunity to plan for the future: As a village corper, plenty of free time allows you to plan for life after NYSC, it also provides you time to meditate, think and come up with great ideas. There are fewer distractions here and so you can make good use of the available time to make yourself productive.
4. Savings: The good thing with being in a village is that a lot of things are sold at very cheap prices; from food to clothes to even rent. Also you have to be very disciplined and calculative, plan when to go out to buy stuffs, make your hair, make withdrawals, etc so you don’t end up spending double over something you would have spent a little on.
Ok well, things with advantages do have disadvantages right? Alright here are some disadvantages of being a village corper:
1. Tendency to be lazy: This is one of the major disadvantages of being a village corper. There is a possibility that the people in the community where you serve will be lazy, and if you aren’t careful, you might successfully spend the whole of your service year doing nothing.
2. Disconnect from real life: If you are in a village, you are easily disconnected from what is going on in the real life. Why? Apart from people around you who you see daily, you aren’t always on your phone to know what’s happening. Internet isn’t really friendly so you can’t keep tabs with events happening at a point in time.
3. Missed opportunities: Serving in the village can be like pouring salt on an open wound, it can be painful because you’ll be missing out on some opportunities you might have made the best of if you weren’t in the village. My advice is keep abreast of what’s going on in your field, seize the opportunity you come across and make plans for after NYSC. This is because, just few people in the village would be ready to share in your vision and encourage you. And there are not much opportunities available for you there unless you strive to create one for yourself and maybe others around you (a perfect CDS project here!).
So you have accepted your fate, what next? Well, just so you don’t end up sulking throughout your one year in service, here are helpful strategies on how to survive as a village corper:
1. Understand the terrain: If you are posted to a village, the first thing you should do is, understand the terrain. Don’t waste time, just accept your situation (unless you have a good way out), understand the way things work there and look for the best way to work things out suitably. If there’s no power supply, try to locate a place to charge; if there’s no water, get to know how they get water there, see if you can improve on it, if not, manage it. If bank is far, plan how many trips you’ll need in a month and know how much you will need to withdraw at each trip then make sure to head to the market immediately and get all you need so you don’t spend it on unnecessary stuff and end up going back for an unplanned withdrawal. Better still you can make mobile transfer to someone going to withdraw to help save a little money.
2. Don’t stay idle:Since what you’ll most likely be doing is teaching, you’ll have plenty of time on your hands. Don’t, I repeat, DO NOT STAY IDLE. Learn something new, organize a coaching class (if you can), learn or teach a skill, join others in doing productive things and look out to improve yourself. Just don’t stay idle.
3. Learn something new:Of course your PPA is in a village, and there are probably few things you tolerate about the place, yet you can try to learn something there. For instance, you can learn tailoring, farming, fishing etc that could actually come in handy and even fetch you something. Just be determined not to waste your service year. You also can look for what works for you in the community where you are. Try to also take a certification course if you can especially on a lucrative field. Of course this will cost you more but it would pay on the long run if you take it serious.
4. Read, educate and improve on yourself: Reading should be one of those things that will keep you sane in your PPA. Read fiction novels, non-fiction books, solve GMAT, TOEFL, or GRE questions. Read inspirational books, read more on your career path. Read both e-books and hard cover, just read and improve on yourself so you come out of your service year a better and improved person.
5. Discover a hobby:Plenty free time affords you the opportunity to discover a new hobby, or work on an existing one. Your hobby can be anything from writing, painting, coding, sports or anything. Just figure out what hobby you’re going to work on or discover and you’ll well be on your way to success.
6. Set goals, make plans, get new ideas: Being in a village should expose you to new ways, who knows, you might just discover the next big thing due to a solution to a problem you noticed in the community. Also set goals and make plans for life after NYSC. Use the time to discover the real you, update your CV, learn a helpful skill, engage in meaningful activities etc.
7. Leave your PPA once in a while: This is very important; the more you stay in your PPA, the more your mind gets attuned to the way of life of the community where you are. It will be best if you leave once in a while, visit a friend, attend a conference in the city, etc. Keep yourself updated on what’s going on in the outside world, and make best use of your social media when you can. Don’t just go online online to chat and read posts, do virtual networking, meet people via social media, you can also sell your products using social media platforms as a means of advertisement and also connect with like minds.
Yes, serving in the village is definitely not easy; but it will open your eyes to new ways, traditions and experiences. You may not be able to do one thing but trust me you can build on that other thing you do and it will be a huge success. In all you will come, see, and still conquer.
So what is your own NYSC story? Do you have questions, comments or additions? Hit the comment.