We began day two of our tour to Kwara State with a visit to Dada Pottery. After visiting Oowu falls, the Oba’s palace and the University of Ilorin Zoological Garden on day one, it was time to check out the last two destinations of our itinerary – Esie Museum and Dada Pottery.
We had our breakfast at the hotel and got set for our trip to Dada pottery by 8 am. One of the things I enjoyed most about this trip to Kwara was the ease with which we carried out all the activities. I loved getting out of bed relatively late and getting in early enough to have dinner and even watch a movie or two. It really did feel like a vacation.
Anyway, we arrived at Dada Pottery in good time. I had already gotten accustomed to the size of Kwara State and the distance between one attraction to the next. I expected a longer ride to get to the pottery community but I was happy to be wrong.
Dada Pottery, Kwara State
Our tour of the pottery community, which is one of Nigeria’s cultural heritage, was such a pleasant experience. The leader of the community, Alhaja Raliat, took us through the process of making a pot from when sand is sourced, sieved and mixed with clay to the moulding and then baking of the pots.
It was fascinating to watch her work with patience and expertise in this craft that is said to be as old as Ilorin itself. And as for the people of the Dada community, they were a different story altogether. I am used to being met with hostility when it comes to taking pictures of places (not even people) in Nigeria, but here, I felt so welcomed.
Now that I think (and write) about it, I realize that I felt very welcomed in every single place we visited during this trip. From the hotel staff to the Oba and his chiefs at the palace to the staff who worked the Unilorin zoo gate to Dada Community and to Esie Museum, every single person welcomed us with a smile and so much warmth. This is perhaps another reason why I truly enjoyed this trip.
After we had completed our tour, we left to visit the Esie Museum, the first museum established in Nigeria, without forgetting to buy some pots. This was also close to the city centre, so we arrived in good time.
As far as museums in Nigeria go, this one was very well preserved and like most museums in Nigeria, we were asked not to take pictures within the premises, so I’ve got none. But the main attraction here was the soapstone figures whose origin has remained a big mystery.
These effigies were found in a circle around a tree some two to three hundred years ago. It is said that they were formerly humans who were transformed into stones by the gods because of their rebellious nature – or they were probably carved by someone. I prefer the former theory and I wonder if the museum has CCTV cams to see if they come alive at night…
We wrapped up our tour at the museum and hopped on the bus to head back to Lagos. We made a few stops to get lunch and to buy souvenirs (roadside foodstuff) but we still arrived in Lagos in good time. And thus, our tour of Kwara state came to an end…*sniff*
I hope you enjoyed following our adventure. If you missed the first part of this trip, here’s the link to catch up on it. And if you’ve enjoyed reading this article, please leave a comment and share!