There comes a time in one’s life, when one wonders
“How did I get here and what in the hell did I do to deserve this?”
This thought crossed my mind yesterday wearing a burlap traditional African outfit well dancing to gospel music. All with a smile on my face as I was being recorded.
On Thursday Madame Grace and I left the mission to go visit her home in Kisumu. I was excited thinking it might be a nice change from the mission. How wrong I was.
Throughout the journey I was forced to fight of vendors who were a delightful mixture of obscene, crude, aggressive and smelly.
Now when I say aggressive I don’t mean the guy who follows you around the club for a little while well you dance with your friends. I mean the kind of aggressive that caused a man to jump onto a moving bus and refuse to let go until I gave him my phone number. Don’t worry I gave him a fake number and when he jumped off the moving bus and tumbled to the ground he looked alright.
When we finally reached the mission after 3 matatus and a motorcycle ride I assumed I had reached salvation. Little did I know I was just heading for the next ring of hell.
It turns out the reason we are spending a week here in kisumu rather then the weekend I thought we were spending is because we are shooting a gospel music video. Which I am in. dancing. Dead center.
Just kill me.
I tried to get out of it by throwing up in the church during rosary but to no avail. It is too late. There is video evidence of this event. Which is too bad because it means I will have to kill these people, burn down the mission and destroy all the evidence.
Even if I didn't have a solo dance part because someone saw me pop my butt I would have to kill these people. but as it is I swiveled my hips and now they have me dancing in a way that makes it look like the music should be called "Jesus- Gettin' down wit some bitchez". The girls have also starting imitating the dances. I can feel myself being pulled underground and into hell.
but all of this dancing, all of this gospel, all of this future blackmail begs the questionwhy are we doing this? Why is one always hearing a hymn and seeing people dance spontaneously? In essence…
what is faith?
I have been pondering this in question and today during rosary watching people actively enjoy what has been portrayed as boring obligation to many back home I think I got some answers.
Faith is believing that the lights are going to come back on even though they have been off for hours and the storm is raging. Faith is believing the water is clean.
Faith is the songs your mother sang you to sleep with. Faith is the place where you and all your loved ones live and gather. Faith is where you played as a child, where your food was gotten, where your friends all met. Faith is home.
But because these answers I came up with didn’t seem enough I decided to ask.
I asked Mercy. I asked her because she is missing her right leg, her left foot, many of her fingers and has a burn up her arm that hurts to look at. And she goes to church everyday. I asked Mercy how she can retain her faith after such terrible things happened to her. Her answer?
“Because I survived”
And it is as simple as that. Life itself s considered gift enough to praise god. The mere fact that you live and breathe and have been allowed even minutes on this earth is enough to force you to your knees and thank God until you are hoarse.
It is a profound appreciation I hope I can one day adopt.
I guess when you have nothing, you have everything to gain.
I would have written more but it is time to go dance again.
I Love You and Miss You and Am Not Giving You a Copy of These Tapes