So I started my Journey Walker story some days ago to tell the tale of my travails this year. Well, here’s the continuation story…
The trip to Fanisau was a long one. The heightened anticipation and fear of the unknown didn’t help matters. The frustrating aspect about the journey was we never seemed to be getting close to our destination. No matter how long we drove, we found out we were still in Kano. Kano is one big ass state. Maybe to a tourist, the sight of gullies, dry stretches of land, weird looking trees and cacti, dusty and bumpy roads, an abnormal high ratio of cattle to humans, et.c might have seemed like a spectacle but to me, each rotation of the tires tied a knot in my stomach. After what seemed like ages, we were finally out of Kano and entered Jigawa, headed for Dutse. It barely took long before we stopped in front of the camp to begin the new phase of our lives. Now, I probably cannot give you the full details of my day-to-day activities in camp but I’ll give you the major highlights.
Registration: It took a full day and half for me to complete the registration process. It was hell. I tried doing as much as I could that evening and the next day was when the real war started. I was under a canopy from 9am to 3pm, struggling with other people, dragging chairs and jumping from them too. The watchful eyes of the soldiers and policemen there kept us from playing pranks (although some lucky bastards still did). By the time I was done with the registration, I was finished.
The Sun: I think somewhere in Jigawa state is a portal to hell fire because the heat there is not from this world. It is the hottest I’ve ever felt in my life. It felt like I was being baked alive. Dehydration was a constant thing there. I consumed a number of bottles and sachets of water each day to keep up. On a normal day, I would try drinking that number else my bladder will give me trouble but over here, all I could get off was a little trickle of concentrated pee at the end of each day. I got a tan I never asked for. It marked my body real bad. You could see the outline of my clothes when I took then off. We had parades late in the afternoon and they were hell because of the sun. The sun would heat up the ground and we could feel the heat seeping through the soles of our boots to burn our feet. We were burnt from above and below. Fainting was a common experience. Once again as a hard guy, I didn’t faint. But if not for those caps given to us, I fear I would have.
The weather: You would think the sun was enough punishment but no, the weather had to be extremely dry too. It helped the dehydration process eat at us. Our lips were the major victims of the dryness. They kept drying up till they cracked and gave us sores. Occasionally, a dust-carrying wind would blow through camp and give those who were unlucky enough to be caught standing in it a fresh coat of brown.
The flies and other animals: Let me clearly state it that no animal in Jigawa fears or respects human beings. Not a single one. You just treated like some non-existent piece of trash. The flies are the worst of them. As soon as it’s 6am, they begin their harassment operation. They just find anyone they can perch on and disturb the life of that person. They will perch, fly around, hover, buzz and even attempt to violate parts of your body and if you try to swat them off, they just get mad and renew their attack with more vigor. They must derive some sort of pleasure from it because you can practically feel the glee and joy emanating from them as they keep attacking you. They keep at it till evening when they change shifts with the mosquitoes. Now with the mosquitoes, it’s still the same thing with a 70% chance of getting malaria. Lots of tough men were knocked down and I wasn’t left out. I also encountered cattle, rams and goats but they constituted more of a nuisance by occupying spaces where humans should be, incessant noise making and dropping faeces everywhere they went. My most unpleasant experience with the animals of Jigawa, however, came from a ‘snake lizard’. I was napping one particularly hot afternoon when I felt movement on my legs. Before I could turn to see what it was, it raced into my boxer shorts. With a yell of terror, I leaped on my bed and tried to catch it. I managed to get hold of it by holding it from the outside of my boxer shorts while trying to figure out what it was before getting rid of it (I had no idea what enter my shorts at this point. I thought it was a large cockroach). Somehow, it managed to slip out of my grip and headed for my butthole. Yes, people!!! My butthole!!! I was going to lose my anal virginity to a motherfucking lizard but somehow, mercy said no. I managed to grab it again before it wrecked any havoc and this time, I squeezed the life out of it. Then I proceeded to strip naked in front of everyone and threw my boxer shorts in the dustbin before running straight to the bathroom. I did all these while yelling. I didn’t get myself till I had a proper bath. Going back to that bed is probably the greatest thing I have done in my life.
The Camp: Camp life was awfully boring. Aside from the normal parade routine, there was really nothing of interest to do on the inside. We had a few social nights which were more of a forced gathering. We all knew there was nothing interesting going to happen after the first night where the light was turned off mid-performance because it was time for bed. The following nights were boring. News from other camps filtered in that a few of them had celebrities come over and perform for them and we kept wondering if any celebrity had the balls to risk it to Jigawa. Our refreshment opportunities were limited too. Just a couple of soft drinks and poorly cooked meals. No booze. It would have been fun to see someone get wasted or even still, be the one to get wasted yourself. We were supposed to have a bonfire night to celebrate our days in camp and it was supposed to be the most fun day in camp but it turned to be more like a boring village meeting. People started leaving as soon as they got their food and before that, there was really no excitement. We were bored to the core. We couldn’t wait to leave.