An all too familiar trumpet sounds in the distance, the melody of horror I call it, followed by the gnashing of teeth by the number two citizens of Nigeria required to be dressed in white shirts, shorts and shoes. Corpers, angels, ‘winches’ (intended to sound as witches but the accent emphasis produces this hilarious version) or white fowls are their designated terms depending on the mood of the stern looking but sweet soldiers who have been tasked to protect and train them. Tao checks the time as the trumpet cuts short his pleasant dream, his watch reads 4:30am and he remarks “whoa shey dis people no get joy ni”, but as fate would have it this was to become a daily ablution for the next 20 days.
Routines brought multiple tribesmen from far and wide together; from the drills to marching exercises to social activities, set on achieving common goals for that period of time. Fortunately, Cupid never fails to visit and aim an arrow in such gatherings, resulting in a lovestruck or an infatuated person or people, the outcome of which could be tentative.
The evenings are a mix of alcohol, bodies moving to the rhythm of music, enticing aroma of food from the maami market and random conversations between people, as the days exhaustion is relieved before the next.
Those painstaking days went by at the pace of snails and cheetahs, strangers became friends and some altercations led some friends to become strangers. Its far from comfort, but everything could be beautiful because of the people you meet.
Not all heroes wear capes, most wear uniforms really.
Sergeant Idris is the 007 of this story, an impeccable soldier who was our platoon commander, the days wouldn’t be complete without his jokes after tirelessly working us up during marching. Platoon 4 was a most memorable phase, and I close this chapter with a Sergeant Idris shout “stand eazyyyyyyyyyyy”.
To those of you whom I met, although unnamed will be greatly missed, as our ambitions distance us like the winds scatter the sands about the earth ,but we carry our memories forever in our hearts.