PHOTO : MY FAMILY FRIENDS AND I — ALL CONNECTED TO EKET.
I was born in a beach town called Eket — a place in which I made all my childhood memories in. However, I’m grateful for the ones I did make before I was bundled and flown to Lagos in the name of relocation.
From this writeup — you’d think that I stayed in Eket long enough to know how to spell my full name properly , but I didn’t . It is just a place that holds so many sweet memories that I will forever hold on to.
My Eket basket of memories
The entirety of my childhood collection in Eket was based on two things “Dad’s work” and “Church”. The gist is that literally all the connections we had in Eket were either connected to work or church — there was barely any grey area, save a few family members.
School for me was bitter sweet , bitter because I had to leave the comfort of my house , and also because there was a “school smell” that made me and still makes me feel nervous.
Sweet because — most of what I remember doing in school was singing songs and nursery rhymes . It was in school I realized that there was such a thing as “drooling” — and unfortunately for me it was my seat partner that was doing it — so on the bus back home and from that day forward, I looked at him different — slightly disgusted in my little mind that someone would decide to just smear his spit everywhere. Yuck.
Now I know better , but still on still.
My first love — we all called him “bobo” was my neighbor, and also in a way my best friend. For a very long time , I believe I was born for him and him, I. We were inseparable, and our parents and everyone around were in support to a “T” — even though we didn’t know anything about love and relationships at that age.
My love story with “bobo” is one that I’ll term a movie worthy “Young Adult” story — because it doesn’t lack anything . The distance , the savory profession of love , the fights , the reconciliation, the trying to be together , the jealousy, the dramatic first kiss, the approval of our parents , the “awwws of our siblings, and the acceptance that we might never be together.
This is one reason I’ll never forget Eket.
Sunny days outside
On sunny days , mostly on non-school days — we were mostly outside playing one game or another or just yelling. and reminding our neighbors how blessed they were to have kids around . One thing I’ll always remember that we did is “Leke leke give me white finger” — it was a way of calling the birds to give us which dots on our finger nails .
Other times we found ourselves running around from the many “Ekop masquerades” that roamed the streets of Eket.
One day I remember that we couldn’t lock our gates fast enough so we had find our square roots to avoid stories that touch.
I’m sad that I don’t remember so much about the waterside “Ibeno beach” , the place my family and I visited one too many times. I would have doubted them — but thankfully there are pictures to prove that I had visited the oh so amazing place before I was carted off with no choice.
Most of the “work people” my family rolled with were also church members , including my neighbors — and therefore my first love. Church in Eket was “church” — what I hear my parents describe is similar to the first churches. The community mentality , the closeness , the love , etc etc. I still remember some parts of the church and how nostalgic it was to look through the windows of the church and envision “pastures”.
Eket was more than home to me — it always was , and will always be. I love the love that we the “family friends” formed a close knit bond and were there for each other when we needed ourselves. I miss being able to play freely ( something my siblings and I were greatly deprived of once we moved to Lagos).
However, I’ll always be thankful for the big-little memories that still warm my heart when I think of the place of my birth. I’m proud to be an “Akwaibomite”
If you no longer live where you were born , I hope you still have the sweet memories that linger around to warm your soul.
Till next time ,