I’m not a physically strong gal; I have a weak upper body, but my legs are pretty strong. I could walk for ages, but simply cannot hang from a tree branch. Even when I cook momma complains about how my hands aren’t “strong enough”: Hold the spoon like so!” “Why can’t you stir it this way?”
I’m a lover of organized desktops, wardrobes, kitchens, and organizations. That must be the reason why I’m in love with the forces: Air-force, Army and especially the Navy. Yeh – I would have done anything to be in that white suit! It’s kinda late for that now, but at least I enjoyed the little taste of it while in school…
As soon as I was enrolled into the university I applied to join the Man O’ War. Alot of people discouraged me because in Nigerian universities it’s as close as you can get to a cult, only that its legalized. Members had a reputation for harassing students, being crude, unrefined and dumb. I didn’t mind cause I felt too refined – time to get a little dirty, haha!
I wasnt feeling too well when the recruitment list came up, but since it was a once- a semester thing, i had no
choice than to go. We were expected to spend a weekend in boot camp and were asked to bring nothing but running shoes, jogging suits and cutlery – you know, basic camping stuff.
The drill began even before we left the school campus: old and intending members were all crammed into ONE rickety us like sardines not caring about size or gender. The bus – decorated with the Man O’ War flags and banners slowly drove us to camp while war songs were chanted to “boost morale”:
” Abuja girls na one-one naira, Lagos girls na carry go”
“Man O War – wee! Wa!”
After ages we got to camp, already cramped from the ride. Our bags were heaped bonfire style and we were all lined up in rank-and file style.
For security purposes, I can’t go into detail about what happened during the two days that followed, but If you have watched a recruitment process in a war movie, this is the time to use your imagination!
All I can say that it was one hell of a weekened with less than 6 hours of sleep. I enjoyed it even though at a point I was too tired/nervous/absorbed to particpate actively (ever the wannabe perfectionist )
On sunday we drove back to school worn out, hungry, sleepy and demoralized. I personallay felt humiliated, ashamed and angry, but i guess thats what a ‘miltary’ recruitment does to you.
Eventually the list came out and I made the team. I was now an “other man”!
The next 3 years of school were filled with recruitments each semester and early morning drills/jogging and parade drills 3 days a week. Sure they were crude (in that military -raw-dirty kind of way) and they we still had mega issues with students, but Iloved every bit of it. During my membership :
* I was the first and only “other man” in my team attend a 10 -day course in the Jos Mountain School (same place we use as ur boot camp for recruitments). It was more intense than recruitments and i had alot of men to contend with but I survived it. My team won the long distance “compound scheme” competition and with blood, sweat and tears (yes, tears), I earned a leadership medal – talk about GI Jane!
*I was one of 5 “other men” in a team of 40 guys who attended a 10-day course in the Lagos Sea School. The obsacle courses here was water and we learned basic water survival skills. We also had a long hike which was by far better than the first i endured, but I had to contend with the hot beach sand! Again, I earned another leadership medal. These two are stories I will talk about another day..for sanity’s sake!
At this time I am above the age of applying for the military course in Nigeria, and I dont think my energy levels are that high anymore, but I sure wish i could still join the forces! Even if i can’t join now, i dont regret the fact that I had a little taste of its ‘rough’ side. If you ask me I would have made a darn good officer!