Corpers' Lodge

NYSC Experience: Azaya (9)

I sincerely apologize for the Break in transmission of this series. Enjoy!

SETTLING DOWN.

The worst thing you can do in Gembu, during November/December, is to sleep alone. The temperature at the period we arrived was around 9-11 degrees Celsius. It was so cold, that we had to wear triple layers of thick clothes and sleep together in the same bed, all four of us.

By the next morning, the temperature became a bit bearable and I took my bath with hot water and went down to see the Director of the hospital. We discussed my accommodation and remuneration, among other things. Before then, the pharmacist already there had told me what to expect from the director and the kind of person he was, so I was prepared.

First, he started by asking why the hospital had to even pay me, considering that the Gov’t was already paying us as Corps Members. I shot down that angle. Then he brought another angle of how they couldn’t afford to pay another Pharmacist again, I told him that that was a simple matter. All he had to do was reject my posting to his hospital and I’d be free to go elsewhere for my PPA. That wasn’t what he wanted and I could see that he was uncomfortable with that option. He finally asked me what I considered a reasonable monthly remuneration. I called a certain amount, and he called something less than a third of that. It was bit annoying, considering that the pharmacist there had already told me what he was being paid, and the salaries of the unskilled staff who were working there too. Apparently, the mere fact of being a Corps member seemed to indicate to these people that one could be paid any ridiculous amount they can think of. We couldn’t reach an agreement on remuneration and he promised to sort out the accommodation issue when I come back in January, as there was none available at the moment. This was around December 2nd or 3rd, and I had already informed him that I’d be going home to come back in January.

Meanwhile, the pharmacist there told me that there was a 2-bedroom apartment left unoccupied in the hospital premises and that I shouldn’t believe the man if he says that there was no accommodation. Based on this information, I called Mr Vincent back in Jalingo, and informed him about the situation at hand. I also told him I’d be travelling home to come back in January to start the work proper. He assured me that by the time I come back, everything would be sorted out.

A few days later, I got ready, took a few things and set out with Goldie for journey that lasted more than 36 hours back to the East and then Port-Harcourt from Gembu, Taraba State.

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