Diary of a Reluctant Corper (Part 2)

Disclaimer: this is fiction, remember?

Part 2
“If you’re walking, you are wrong”, it was yet another day in Kemi’s camp life. She woke up feeling somewhat lethargic on day 7. The inconvenience of waking up at 5 am everyday for the past one week had begun to take its toll. She was even beginning to feel somewhat dull spiritually. Morning devotion wasn’t cutting it anymore, it was a sign that she needed to prioritise time with God. She recalled her strong sense of purpose when she got here one week ago, which was reinforced by the timely delivery of her permanent medical license and subsequent registration.

One of the perks of this camp was the well maintained modern structure. Apart from the overcrowding in the rooms, the facility was not bad at all considering the circumstances. There were well over 3000 corp members. Each hostel had a group of supervisors who ensured that no one remained in the rooms during activities. Thankfully, the utilities were quite neat, and there were cleaners. Water had not been a problem so far. The food was okay, but Kemi preferred going to the famous mamy market, there, she could be choosy, without the long queues for food. Compared with some other camps in the country, she was in camp heaven.

She was still deep in thought as she ran at the soldier’s order. It was still dark, and cold. Thankfully she brought her cardigan along. As she scanned the faces of her platoon members, she wondered why and how the ladies applied makeup so early in the morning. It was obvious that some of them had not even seen what they had done. As quickly as she thought it, she dismissed it, focusing on the more important matter of her spiritual life. She began to pray under her breath, “Father, I know you’re near, please draw me closer to You, I need You. Show me why I’m here, I want to live for you”.
Joshua 1:8″, was the gentle response. She knew what to do.

Platoon 6 was up next for the morning prayer and presentation. As their representative spoke, Kemi became more and more restless, longing for the serenity and calmness of the camp clinic. The clinic was always crowded with corp members and health workers. There were 6 bunk beds for those that needed to be admitted. The health workers were a mix of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists, dentists and dental therapists. They got along fairly well, with the occasional squabble. That was her natural habitat. She loved the work, and she could not wait to get back there. People would argue that this was a once in a lifetime experience but she would not miss it one bit. Doctors were in short supply in this batch, so the few they had worked round the clock. She didn’t mind the work, it was worth it compared to this.

“It’s time for Man ‘O’ War drills”, the coordinator said. At this point, Kemi was desperate for a way out, but she would have to wait. She, a 28 year old medical doctor was dancing to the chants of the Man ‘O’ War officers, she couldn’t help but laugh at the situation. To be fair, the drills were actually fun, she just wasn’t one for physical exercise, plus she was hungry. Dreams of mamy market flooded her mind, as she considered her limited breakfast options. Bread and egg with a cup of coffee would do just fine, she decided.

“Hi Kemi, how are you today?”, Funto’s voice forced her back to her present reality. “I’m fine”, was Kemi’s automatic response as usual. Funto was a graduate of Economics from a foreign university. It was interesting how they became camp friends, even though she was much younger than Kemi. Her gentle personality was an enigma to Kemi, but it was also endearing. They shared a love for God, Christian music, books, art, platoon 4 and neither of them was looking for a relationship. It was a match made in camp heaven.

Kemi’s reasons were different. Her heart belonged somewhere else, with someone else. The story sounded really romantic until you got to the interesting bits that she had never told anyone. He was her best friend that wasn’t her best friend anymore, but she still hoped and prayed that He would be the one that got away and came back for her. Kemi signed as the reality of this journey of faith for the right one had begun to get to her. Nothing bread and egg and some time on social media couldn’t cure. Why didn’t she even think of reading her Bible and praying, she sighed again as she and Funto, walked briskly to their usual breakfast spot. Time really got away from you pretty fast in such a regimented environment. Thankfully, the soldiers here were not as terrible as the rumours about them.

She needed to get out of her own head. Funto was speaking quite animatedly about some book she had read by A.W Tozer (yup, she was that kind of person). Listening wasn’t really Kemi’s thing, but all she had to do was bob her head at some points, with the occasional, ‘hmm’, or ‘that’s really deep’, and Funto was satisfied.

The sound of the bugle was a signal to everyone that time was up, Kemi would go to the clinic while Funto would join the compulsory morning lecture. The lectures were known for their sedative properties and associated with a high level of boredom and occasional unruly behaviour from some of the corp members. They bade each other good bye as they approached the clinic.
The clinic was the usual stop for those who were trying to escape one activity or the other. Some feigned health, others feigned sickness. In camp, everybody was a liar until proven otherwise. She was not in the mood for their antics today. Thoughts of him crept into her mind, again. She would call, but she knew the drill already. She picked up her phone, scrolled longingly through her contact list, but common sense got the better of her as she chose the Youversion Bible app instead. “Not today”, she muttered under her breath, ” not today”.


©Olamide Akappo nee Oti, 2020

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