It all started with the desire to explore Nigeria, see the beautiful places, meet new people and the change of scenery, But the quest invariably took a completely different turn.

We took off from Ibadan, Oyo state, at about 8:40am. At first, fear gripped my heart, “I didn’t know anyone or anyplace at our destination”, so I said to myself “I am going to a strange land without informing any member of my family”. Was it the right thing to do or was it the wrong thing to do? The journey had already started.

Calabar from Ibadan, is a really long journey, lasting about 15hours on driving at full throttle. We saw the trees, the green lush grasses, and the magnificent Niger Bridge, quite an amazing sight!

Another shocking thing was the public displays of the Biafra protestants. I was scared at first because of the loud noise at the market place where our bus was parked, but talking to a few people in the bus made me realise, that it was a peaceful protest, and we were safe. Peace found it’s way, back into my heart.

We arrived at Tinapa junction very late at night, and found our way to the Tinapa Lakeside Hotel where we spent the night. It was a restful sleep, with the comfortable bed and nice ambience in the room.

In the morning we went round the hotel, then we had breakfast. Hmm… the food was sumptuous. The hotel staff were warm and respectful.

With the Commisoner for Culture and Tourism, Mr. Eric Anderson

We met a man by the name Mr. Kammoke Abam, who encouraged us and introduced us to quite a number of people, notably, The young commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr. Eric Anderson, His technical adviser, F3, and the founder of Calabar Blog, Mr. Hope Obeten.

With Mr. Hope Obeten, CEO, Calabar Blog

We were told some things about calabar being a historic centre. CALABAR meaning “Come And Live” And “Be And Rest”.

Calabar is such a peaceful place with beautiful scenery, fresh unpolluted air for the sustenance of a healthy living. I had not seen anything like this before. On the street, there were trees, such a beautiful and enchanting view.

We went to Marina Resort courtesy of Mr. Hope Obeten who drove us and we visited the Slave History Museum. I was deeply moved, and felt a deep connection with the past of this Great Nation, and the struggles of her past. My love for Nigeria and Africa’s development was rekindled, haven heard and seen all that we had gone through as a nation and as a continent.

At the Slave Trade Museum in Marina Resort Calabar

At the resort centre, we enjoyed a boat ride to the twin island, where Mary Slessor stopped the killing of the twins. We also saw the point of no return, where the ships that took slaves would dock. The boat ride was exhilarating!

The trip took a completely different turn upon meeting the wonderful people. Purpose came into the picture; how with tourism, cross cultural integration can be promoted to foster peace and unity in Nigeria.

The trip was fun, filled with a lot of trills, and a deeper form of learning.

By Kehinde and Taiwo from Ibadan, Oyo State

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