Awlaw, An experience worth recounting and repeating. Am a bit short of words as i don’t know how to narrate all that i experienced at Awlaw community. Ever since i picked interest in travel and tourism i have never seen or come across anything that hints awlaw as a tourist destination but the fact is that the community is truly a tourist haven.
As part of the monthly tour and picnic organised by the directorate of culture and tourism, NYSC South East in conjunction with the center for untapped Africa and my saftv aimed at showcasing and promoting our local tourist attraction, we visited Awlaw, a community in Oji River Local Government. Am sure that just like me, whenever Oji River is mentioned, the first three communities that comes to mind will be Achi, Inyi and Akpugoeze because of the Akougoeze monkeys but in actual sense, Awlaw should have been a well know place because of its wonderful attractions but why would it? over here we pay little or no attention to tourism.
After the eventful and memorable Ezeagu outing last month I had to cancel my trip to cross river and clear all my schedule for this Awlaw event but i had to zero my mind, I wasn’t expecting anything for me not to be disappointed because unlike Ezeagu tourist centre which is a popular and well know place, Awlaw isn’t.
On the day of picnic, we were supposed to take off from polo park at around 8:am but on getting there i saw only five persons, i was a little discouraged but i was going there because of anybody, mine is just to explore, experience and discover new places, even if i was the only one there i don’t mind but it wouldn’t make sense. I quickly called Abiola, he was part of the group and he was supposed to go, we met at the Ezeagu Picnic and have been in contact since then, He was the one that wrote ”The Hiker’s Diary: The Tale of an Adventurous Hiking in Akwuke, Enugu” after he joined in in one of my Adventure, just remembered i haven’t published my own account of that wonderful experience but i will do that soon. When i spoke with Abiola it happened that he wasn’t going to make it, few minutes later he called to tell me that he was at our departure venue, i had stepped out for some food at one of the restaurants around but on getting back, there had been much improvement in the number of people at the venue but noticed that the group comedian wasn’t going. Am not much a fan of comedy and my sense of humor isn’t that great but i do laugh and enjoy his jokes and sarcasm once in a while.
Well, back to the topic: Just before we left the rain started and i heard someone say that he hope the community has a rainMaker, African and more especially Igbo people will understand this, but for non African and those who doesn’t understand, Rainmaker(s) are those who has the ability to hold rain and also send down rains. Yeah, people do that, Are you surprised? After we left Polo park, instead of driving through Milliken or 9th mile road we followed 4corners and drover through Nkanu-Ozalla-Udi road. As usual, am always on the lookout for my next adventure destination but my sitting position did not avail me the opportunity to take a proper shot of the environment.
The road was a bit lonely but the scenery was Amazingly breathtaking, the meandering nature of the road made it seem like that of Milliken. We passed through towns like udi, Agbudu, Umuabi, Obinagu and others before we arrived at Oji River where we were joined by students from the university town of Nsukka.
On getting to Awlaw we first visited the house of the man believed to be the oldest in the community but the visit didn’t go well as he couldn’t address us but that didn’t hamper our activities as we headed to the mmam river where manual sand and gravel drilling activities was going on, we also saw the conference of mmam and another body of water.
Below are picture of two waters that are in dispute:
As i child growing up in mmaku, a town in Awgu where the mmam river begin its journey from we were told several stories about mmam, the goddess of mmam river that dwells in a place called Ishi mmam in Mmkau. i remembered this story when i saw those two waters because for me it was just a story, But seeing this two waters i am beginning to think that the story might actually be about this two rivers that met here.
According to stories we heard, while mmam a very beautiful goddess was on her way to meet the atlantic, being generous she offered other rivers and streams that cant be able to survive the journey to the atlantic to travel with her. while on her way, she came across this beautiful water and seeing how beautiful she was and also knowing that she can’t make it to the Atlantic herself she offered that they move together side by side without any feeding each other but giving strength to each other but the beautiful one refused and told mmam to find another way that both can’t move side by side, mmam then told the beautiful one that if they cant move side by side that she can only become a part of her to be able to met the Atlantic, mmam then block the way of the beautiful one and since then, the beautiful one has been in one spot, unable to move till today.
We also visited another body of water where we were supposed to swim but we didn’t, being far from the residential area people hardly visit the place so it doesn’t have enough space to accommodate us. As we walk back, i took a look around and severely speaking Awlaw is aesthetically pleasing and appealing, the hills are breathtaking and the greens are charming. I, Mariam and Afolabi quickly joined the other as they made their way the the cave and waterfall site. We first visited the cave which was nice but not close to that of the Ezeagu, Those that are not faint hearted made their way inside with me but i couldn’t walk around inside, when we came out we headed to the waterfall.
The waterfall was the most beautiful of everything i saw at Awlaw even though we didn’t visit every place we set out to visit. Below the high fall wa another small fall, while the high fall was coming from the top of the rock, the other was coming from inside the rock. As everyone enjoyed a splash of water from the falls while also taking some pictures, i made my way up to the top of the rock just to satisfy my curiosity. I wanted to know where the water was coming from, while i was going up, i noticed an opening which leads inside the rock but couldn’t explore it because i wasn’t with any light indead i went up the rock but regrettably i wasn’t with either my phone or camera, after exploring the water way from the top of the rock i decided to do something crazy, something i haven’t done in a very very long time. I jumped from the top, crazy right? but all were part of the Awlaw experience. While i also received my own splash of water others left for the final destination, i and the rest joined them later.
Not long after we arrived at the picnic ground and set our things, everybody’s spirit was still high and ready for fun but the rain came and broke our spirit.
While everyone took shelter under the trees and their umbrellas and when i though the event wasn’t going to be anymore fun our vibrant and enthusiastic UNN students became the life and soul of the event as they entertained everyone with their dance. Left for people like me who are more of spectators the Dj will play his song all through with no one to dance to it. while our dancers were digging it out the Abacha was getting ready, Abacha Ncha, prepared right at the picnic ground.
Enjoying Abacha Ncha.
I did meet my equal when it comes to preparing Abacha. Oh! You don’t know am a great chef and one of my area of specialization is Abacha? now you know.. the Abacha was finger licking and biting, so delicious. Lady need an Award for that Abacha, anybody that complained about that Abacha deserves to be in jail. While we enjoyed that great dish other activities was also going on, we rounded up at 6pm and headed back to Enugu. While others left on the way the rest of us made it back to polo park at about 9:05. The fun never stops, tomorrow is another day.