8th October, 2010
It was a paradox of life for the 12 contestants who have had the privilege of being pampered in different luxurious hotels in Lagos and Abeokuta, capital city of Ogun state weeks before their entry into Omo Forest, in J4 village, chosen location for this yearâ€™s edition of Gulder Ultimate Search Season 7.
Their very first challenge on entering the jungle was how to locate their camp site. After discovering the location, the next task was how to construct their tent. However, individual differences, bad attitude, intolerance amongst contestants came to the fore. There was no leadership control and direction. Everybody wants his or her voice heard.
The usual human nature sets in. Some deliberately constitute a nuisance, lazing around while others were ready to pull their weight. People like Mercy Itohan were a torn in the flesh for others. She was severally accused of bad manners and laziness by her fellow contestants. It got to a level that Kunle fell short of beating her.
In the midst of all the squabbles and confusion; hunger, sets in. While one of them had earlier on their arrival at the site, discovered a pack of foodstuff that include garri, water, yam, beans, rice and palm oil, finding matches to make fire became an arduous task. The ground was primarily wet due to the unceasing rainfall and the marshy environment where their camp site is located. There were no granite stones in sight to start a fire the medieval way.
The already tired, worn out contestants, who as at that time had not completed their bamboo hut, gave up the construction task, clung together in an open corner like day old chickens and passed the night.
First Morning In Camp
The contestants woke up to a bright morning on their second day in the camp. Having sized themselves up the previous day, they started to identify the like minds among themselves to pitch tent with. As usual, the day started with Kunle, Chukwuma, and Strongface having problems with Mercy who was gradually becoming notorious for trouble making, as almost all her fellow contestants has one complaint or the other about her.
Everybody took to the nearby stream to fetch water early that morning, washed their clothes, brushed their teeth and had their bath, ready for their first official task in camp.
First Task in the Jungle
The instruction they found that morning instructed them to prepare for their first task which obviously sent jitters down their spine because some of them thought eviction might start with the first task.
They marched out to their task area into the waiting hands of Bob-Manuel Udokwu, the celebrity Nollywood actor who anchors the Gulder Ultimate Search.
Bob-Manuel welcomed them and gave them the rules of the first game â€œThe Giant Ballâ€ they are to play this game as a group game. They ended their task enthusiastically, with commendation from the anchorman who tasked them further with an order that they should go back to their camp and construct individually a â€œWall of Timeâ€.
The Wall of Time when properly constructed symbolizes the presence of each contestant in the camp. It stops running when any of the contestants is evicted. When this happens, it means the affected contestantâ€™s time in the camp has run out. They all came back to their camp and constructed their wall of time. After that, the cry of hunger rent the air.
The Place of the Talking Drum
Despite their state of fatigue and hunger, the 12 contestants had goose pimples when they heard the instruction that ordered them to take up their lanterns and file up to the fearful place of the Talking Drum.
Fortunately for them, the spokesperson for the Council of Elders at the place of the talking drum, Bob-Manuel Udokwu cheerfully welcomed them and told them the elders are very pleased with their attitude and performance since their arrival in camp the previous morning, and also with the successful manner with which they performed their first task in the jungle.
Bob-Manuel explained the symbolic role the Place of the Talking Drum plays in the course of their stay in the jungle for the Gulder Ultimate Search 7. The Place of the Talking Drum, Bob-Manuel explains, is the place where messages and instructions are relayed from the Council of Elders to the subjects (the contestants).
A place where various issues of common interest are discussed, orders are delivered, subjects are honoured, reprimanded or banished by way of eviction out of the jungle.
The contestants didnâ€™t miss the opportunity of freedom of speech provided at the Place of the Talking Drum. They registered their hunger situation which was as at that time getting to the third day. According to them they had abundance of foodstuff but couldnâ€™t figure out how to ignite their make-shift primitive stove. Bob-Manuel replies that the Council of Elders is aware of their plight but that the solution lies with them. They all left disappointed back to their camp to continue their suffering and hunger.