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Monday, June 4, 2018

The Untold Facts To Consider Before Joining The Army

The risks that scare people and the risks that kill people are very different

Imagine a scenario where four soldiers are in a room discussing. In this discussion, they reminisce the tough times, the joyful moments and the sad events that probably can only be understood by uniform guys. Inevitably, in such a discussion; girls and drinks can never be relegated to another day. However, right into the discussion, the host makes mention of a friend of his. This friend is a huge inquisitor; he asks lots of questions, the host narrates some experiences to them, to which they laugh at some of the funny and personal questions this guy often asks. After this description, the host insists on calling this friend knowing that this friend is always ready to find out what makes people thick.
As far as I can imagine, this is probably what happened before I received a call from my friend Peter asking me to come meet him and his uniform friends. Upon my arrival and given that peter had already introduced me, it became my turn (WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN IT’S YOUR TURN? Two main questions immediately came to my mind, to ask them:
  • What one thing should I consider before joining the army?
  • What is the impact you want to have in the world?
Our focus today will be on the first question, what to consider before joining the army. If you follow the trends, you’ll notice that 100’s , 1000’s and 10,000’s go in for this exams without any briefing. I asked this question to all five soldiers and here is what they told me.



The day we went for training, I made sure I was prepared. I had everything made up, from food to cloths to God. At the main entrance checking, my food was seized, some clothes taken from me as not permitted. But I recall the look in their eyes when they saw my Bible, the “Hummmm” sound was made twice. I held my patience, I knew why I was there. Once in the dormitory, I took my Bible to read, I was scared; psalms 23 is always my refuge in such moments, I desperately needed it. I remember getting to verse 3. Once at verse 3, I heard a heavy slap on my back head, the Bible was seized from me, then this rhyme , that I’m probably going to get every day throughout my training was song; “ This isn’t a job for God, we aren’t doing God’s work here. God stopped at the entrance to this place. This is a job for the Devil”After these words were pronounced the most gruesome act of my training was performed, my Bible was burnt before my own very eyes. The one thing I believed in, my refuge and my guide was taken away from me. If there is ever a day I strongly felt the urge to leave the army, it was that day. However, the spirit within me told me to be silent, to obey all they tell me and leave without creating a scene. If you ever consider getting to the army and you love God, know you will have to sacrifice him for 11 months.


Its camaraderie and community living vs autonomous and individualism lifestyles

The month after our training, we received the best gift ever 120.000 fcfa.  I couldn’t believe my eyes; at least the training had yielded some positive impact. That evening like others, when we usually dodge activities that is; jump over the fence to go drinking and dancing, became a terrible one. Once at the club, I wanted to be the first to share drinks to my colleagues, knowing that they would do same after the first round. On touching my pocket, I realised my money was gone; it had probably fallen while I was jumping the fence. My friends followed me to the spot, we searched and searched and couldn’t find anything. The money was gone, my first salary gone. I wept! Back at the dormitory, something happened that till date, I’ll be prepared to replicate a hundred times with my life, if need be. My promotion (batch) mates concerted,   and decided to each contribute a sum of 1,000frs to compensate for my lost. The girls all contributed, though few guys didn’t, but do you know what?
I ended up with  190,000 frs. We’re 230 in that batch. Do you see? After that, being so enamoured, I organised a thank you feast and spent 65,000 frs back on these lovely mates. These guys love me and I’m prepared to die for them. In a business, school or corporate world, it’s very scares to see such but here it’s normal. I went to school with no food, but I ate more than a bag of garri, because there nobody eats alone, it’s a community life and we all understand the ordeal.



In the second phase of our training we get to what is called confidence shooting. This is the phase where you no longer work alone. You need a Bi-homme. This Bi-homme is a guy you are trained to give all your trust to. During this phase, you have to go practise shooting and unlike other practices, you are told this is a scenario where you are attacked. You can’t look back, you need to trust that your bi-homme has your back and vice versa. You practice every time with this guy that you finally get fond of him. At the end of the training, a bottle is placed on your head and you have to let him shoot. Imagine a bottle on your head, and you’re told, your bi-homme has to shoot the bottle. Or else you won’t make it in the training. Trusting your partner is core to the army training, once you pass this test you’re never the same again. Why? You trusted him with your life and he didn’t fail you.   You guys become family and you tend to love him more than everyone you’ve ever known. If this bi-homme of yours was to be place with your mum and you had to save just one, you’ll go for the bi-homme. That’s how transformed you are at the end of the training.



Remember your infancy, there was a popular game back then called Hide and Seek. For those who are lost here, the simplest way to explain this will be with an example. Take it that, 20 people decide to play this hide and seek game; out of these 20, one person is selected to go and count (1-20 or 30) while others hide. After the counting, this person is expected to find at least one out of the 19 persons, then he goes and hides and the process is replicated. Now, if you’re in the game and you decide to leave and stop playing, the best way is to tell one person who will tell others or simply leave a note.
In the past, if you wanted to get out of the army it was easy. All you had to do was take whatsoever bound you to them (guns and uniforms), place it in an area where someone of the crew could see, then attach a resignation note. After which, you would have to go very far, where they might not hear about you for a long time. And that was it.
Today, if you wish to leave the army you may think the rules are still the same; like that of Hide and Seek. You taking their gun and uniform to a place where they might easily see then running to a far place.  It no longer works that way. Anyone who did that in the past was considered a weakling or runaway, today you are considered a TRAITOR. Unlike the Hide and seek game where one person looks for 19 others hiding; with a modern runaway, it is the inverse all 19 are in pursuit of the one hiding.



     Once you get to training, their main objective is to make you lose your memory. These trainers give you two weeks of harsh training.  It’s like hell on earth.  I don’t even know where to start, let me just land on 1a.m. At this time we aren’t asleep like the rest of the world and sincerely speaking we don’t sleep the first two weeks of the training. We have a colleague who got mad. The activities between 1-3 am are the toughest, in summary at this time; very cold water in thrown on us for a long period of time. We are asked to do 100 pumps and more, carry heavy objects and do the toughest sport ever. Did I mention we all live in the bush? By 4am we are told to go take a bath, “ohh resting time”! You think? No it lasts just 5 mins. I stayed for 5 months without removing my shoes and socks. After bathing, on our way back, we are once again asked to rub our bodies on mud. We are never clean, those who are fair in complexion have a tougher life, throughout the training they have to rub their faces with mud because the bright colour isn’t accepted.  By 7 am we are asked to move for a distance of 70 km barefooted. It is so painful.  After that, another activity is launched and it goes on round the clock.
I can’t reveal their names as you can see; the army can have both sweet and bitter experiences. Consider, pondering on these few elements which should help you ask and answer the question of am I ready for this type of life? Please consider this before entering the army.

Written By: 

Leslie Micheal V. (ace)

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