The only permanent thing in the world is change. Less than four months after its inundation, the Enugu mystery pool has dried up triggering major soil excavation by new visitors who had come for healing in the pool. The town itself which became a tourist destination a few months back, has had a fair share of the change as it has become a ghostly abandoned place.
No people and vehicular movement were present; the motorcyclists have relocated to major towns while the plastic container’ sellers at the junction leading to the forest have abandoned the business. The dreaded path to the forest took 20 minutes walk to the pool with heart palpitation.
When Saturday Vanguard visited the pool recently, it was found to be completely drained with trenches here and there dug by desperate visitors with a view to getting water from the soil for healing.
Saturday Vanguard had earlier visited the pool which many claimed had healing powers. Thousands of people from far and near visited the pool, dipped their bodies in the water, drank from the water, cut trees around the basin of the pool and took away sand within the precincts of the stream with the belief that it had supernatural healing powers.
The seasonally flooded pool basin now look different from the surrounding upland. Most parts of the soil have been excavated by new visitors to the stream who rather than being utterly disappointed, dig up the pool’s basin to see if they could get some water for healing.
Leaves in the pool basin are compacted and had turned gray. The soil also exhibit features of dehydration, which meant they have been dried up for a period of time. There were not even water stains on the trunks of trees which was an indication of complete level of dryness.
They explained that its inundation in the first place was not as result of heavy rainfall but natural.
Villagers who spoke to Saturday Vanguard ruled out the hot temperature as reason for its dryness, maintaining that it was natural as it was not the first time the pool will dry or be flooded.
Christopher, who lives in Umuaga, said: “It does not matter the type of weather, even in the rainy season, the pool may not be flooded but may be aided by the level of rainfall. Why we believe the pool is mysterious is because it could spring up during the dry season and that is why it is called Oririmiri.”
A few persons Saturday Vanguard met at the stream said they have made the place their second home not only to watch development on the pool but also to attract blessings.
They narrated that it is those few who just heard about the pool and its healing power that visit the area. “It is those who just heard about it and usually from far places that visit because there is nobody close that has not heard about it. So, we welcome them and sell some items to the like the calendar with details about the water,” said Emeka.
Asked how the visitors felt when they discovered that the water had dried up, he stated: “they feel disappointed. That is why some of them dug up some areas to get water. Recently, some people came from the North and they had to dig up to six feet before getting water which they drank and collected in plastic containers to take home.” he stated.
Villagers, Okada count losses
Just as villagers and petty traders lament the slide in the profits they make on their brisk businesses, others including commercial motorcyclists noted that many of them had to relocate to the heart of the town to eke out a living.
“We sold a lot before now because people throng the village. In fact, every part of the country must have heard about the river and that enough is a blessing for us. But you cannot compare the commercial activities then with what you have now. Not only the transport business benefited, everybody selling one thing or other other benefited,” said a petty trader in the area.
An okada who identifies himself as Dan said: “For me as an okada man, these days, I can stay there looking for passengers but none was forthcoming. You will not make money. Last November when it surged to January this year, we made a lot of money. I personally made over N20,000 daily then, but nobody is coming again because the water has dried and no clever okada would wait at the junction searching for passengers,” Dan said.
Asked what how he used the money, he said: “I paid my house rent and bought another okada and also set up my wife on business. It has been blessing for us and I can’t wait for another opportunity. I pray the water comes up again soon,” Dan stated.