By: Elesi Azumah

SA Bloggers in Collaboration with Travelstart encourages Readers/Bloggers to participate in the Paper Jet Challenge all in the spirit of Youth Month. So put your best foot forward and recollect all those fond childhood memories and share it with South Africa. #BeAkidAgain

The Paper Jet Challenge has brought upon so many memories and emotions I was able to relive again in 2018. Do join in on the challenge and share a memory that brings back the inner child that’s been hidden but most importantly enjoy my story.

‘The series of events with the Azumah Clan’

Thinking of my childhood memories, I immediately think back to life in my childhood neighbourhood, which is based in a small town within the Eastern Cape called Lusikisiki, which was filled with unique individuals who played a vital role towards my youthful upbringing.

My family, of course were major key players towards the series of events “sometimes unfortunate but always memorable” which certainly added a larger than life persona within the mountainous rural area of Newtown.

During the summer holidays the atmosphere at home was always soothing for some reason and everybody seemed to like one another.

Summer memories with my mother in the Eastern Cape

Summer memories with my mother in the Eastern Cape

The family home certainly felt fuller, relatives rightfully exercised yet somehow “abused their visitation rights” but most importantly, family trips and excursions were taken.

These trips were often perceived as a way of reconnecting but in essence were gossip sessions and gloating periods for our relatives to openly discuss their achievements during the course of the year.

Speaking of family excursions and trips, one memory that sticks out the most has to be our annual outing to Mbotyi Beach. The 40km drive from the inner ‘lusiki’ area to the coastal area seemed like a lifetime of drama, tears and suspense.

The picturesque area which is situated at the mouth of the tidal Mbotyi River nestled between the rolling hills and the warm Indian Ocean is definitely a traveller’s paradise but an annual spot for the Azumah clan.

Coming from a large and diverse family has its perks but my father’s side has always had a very Over the Top demeanour about them. I’m not sure if it’s the West African blood or it’s a native thing only his kin would understand. Might I add another crucial detail before I delve into the story is the: “amazing natural treasures at the beach area such as the waterfalls and lush tropical forest”.

We all know the norms of any family outing; with our clan I knew everyone’s set responsibility. My uncles handled the braaiing of the meat; my aunts made salads, my older relatives would set up the designated area but let’s not forget who would be doing all the drinking: My favourite ‘Uncle Morgan’ who donned the name because of his love for the alcoholic beverage.

In every family there’s always a relative who is a supposed Mr/Miss know it all. Well my cousin ‘Eric’ was a dictionary definition of the term. He came from a very affluent family, well-spoken and private schooled since kindergarten yet with all these accolades on his belt, Eric couldn’t swim, which isn’t a laughing matter but just one when it came to his sarcastic behaviour.

As we proceeded to the highest point of the waterfall with the young clan, Eric as usual would throw snide comments and funny enough warned people about the dangers of drowning….. Really!

I could swim which was weird coming from him but I guess his bravery took over his process of thinking because he dived into that water like Michael Phelps swimming for the 800m freestyle at the Olympic Games.

My cousin is very petite and is barely there, “if you know what I mean” so when he entered that deep river water, what emerged next was a set of tooth picked arms dangling in the air yelling for help.

Now let me remind you that drowning is a serious matter but in Eric’s case it was rather astonishing since he elaborated and gave everyone a prep talk about the dangers of drowning.

Lucky enough, everyone at the waterfall could swim but the rescue mission deemed rather difficult due to my cousin’s diva tendencies. My sister instantly jumped in to save our dear cousin but the logistics behind her actions made no sense as she was just as petite as Eric, if not smaller.

This turned into a comical spectacle as my sister struggled to get him out the water. This drew in the attention of my older relatives but for some reason it literally felt like my entire life passed by because of the pace these individuals were moving at, to be precise it felt like watching David Hasselhoff rescuing a damsel in distress (more like Eric in distress) on Baywatch.

Nonetheless, Eric lived to tell another tale and claimed to be traumatised yet later on attempted to jump right back at the ‘scene of his trauma’.

Let’s just say my sister never attempted to rescue anyone again, Eric finally learnt how to swim after being ridiculed Christmas after Christmas about his failed ‘Michael Phelps attempt’ but most importantly how the situation actually brought us together and how we laugh about it now that we older despite the seriousness behind it.

I will forever cherish this moment or memory, It’s rather hard to forget might i repeat the important lesson behind it as well!

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