A young girl is carrying a small tray filled with fresh oranges on her head. A woman beside her haggles noisily with the vegetable seller.
The small market is ubiquitously embroidered in a beautiful mosaic of colours: fresh red tomatoes and pepper piled up at different corners; bunches of unripe plantain stacked on a broad wooden plank, and heaps of ripened pawpaw and dirty-brown tubers of yam on sun-tanned sand.
It is the market day of Owena village- a settlement straddling Akure-Ilesa and Akure-Ondo expressways. Although the two busy roads are miles apart, this settlement nevertheless, has always made the same impression on every traveler-by on the roads.
One could ply this road for decades and never come to the awareness of the presence of the Old Owena Dam. A short dusty by-way through the market leads to the dam. The dam was erected about two decades ago and has been fittedwith a chute-type spillway, large water pipes and a big pump. It appears to have been designed exclusively for domestic supply purposes.
On approaching the dam premises, a visitor quickly notices a rapid attenuation of the cacophony from the roadside market.
An old gate leads into the dam. A structure housing a big machine sits on the left and a rigid iron bridge lies ahead, leading to a narrow field of bright-green elephant grasses arrogantly swaying with the gentle breeze as the field stretches into the far distance.
The short iron bridge caps the spill way. A beautiful lake sprawls behind it like a long narrow sea of spilled oil. Verdant aquatic plants form broad carpets on the waters. The skyline at its far end is bedecked by undulating canopies of lush green forests, casting an unusual but awe-inspiring shadow on the tranquil waters.
A local fisherman slowly rows his canoe at a distance; as the lake glistens with a mild solar fire, capturing both the fisherman and his boat in a vague silhouette.
Standing on the bridge and leaning on its railings to savour the rhapsodic aura of picturesque surrounding, one might be lucky to get treated to a usual attraction at the lake: schools of catfishes and Tilapias twirling happily with a sense of freedom that seems to know no bounds.
The cool breeze at the lake are satiating, engulfing the visitor with a sensational ambience of peace. On the other side of the bridge, where the elephant grasses banked the lakeside, a man is busy cutting down an errant shrub near the water.
About frequency of visit to the dam, he laughs and says they rarely have visitors. About the fishes in the lake, he says, ”there are plenty of catfishes and tilapias in this lake o! Infact, if you come when the fishermen are just returning from their daily runs on the lake, you will see plenty of our fishes”.
It is worthy of note that sport fishing on this lake will definitely not be a bad idea!
A visit to the lake might definitely leave one thinking why everyone in Nigeria have become so caught up in the vagaries of everyday city life that we don’t create time for adventure recreation.
When admiring the lush forestson the far banks of the lake, one cannot but imagine those foreign lakeside resorts with water skis, canoes, fishing boats and wildlife water parks. This is nonetheless another bundle of economic potential, an incredible andviable investment opportunity for a keen business mind.
The noise from the village market returns as one departs and approaches themarket, ushering one back into the world of men, away from the exhilarating and refreshing world of peace and tranquility nature gives.Tweet