Friday, April 3, 2009

Best Laid Plans (Part 18)

Voodoo (Part 2)

So there I am in a hut with my fellow traveler, Jodee and two women from the voodoo village. They’re helping us take our shirts and shoes off. Yep, shirts were coming off. Honestly, beyond my initial surprise at the priest’s request, the first thing that came to mind was ‘why in the hell did I wear the fartiest bra in the world that day’. Oh well...
After Jodee and I took our shirts off, the very gentle women then wrapped us in white sheets. So there we stood, wrapped and ready for the church. The Voodoo priest told the group that appropriate attire whilst in the church did not include shoes or a shirt. So while the men just disrobed out outside, Jodee and I were taken to a more private area.

Then we were ready.

Our group was escorted into the church. I didn’t know what to expect in there – I didn’t know just how ill the people would be and what sort of ceremonies would take place. It also wasn’t a church in the way that I knew them. It didn’t have tall ceilings, it didn’t have a steeple, or pews, but it was an honored, though makeshift space. The benches were in an L shape and the priest and his assistant sat in chairs at the front. Our group filed in and sat down on the nearest benches and, after a hello from the parishioners, the music began. It was loud and beautiful and heartfelt. I don’t know what I had anticipated I’d feel when I went into that church, but it was not this. It was like the rest of the world closed down and there was only this space with these people. The music and the singing was amazingly engaging and then, two-by-two, people got up and danced toward the priest. This was a celebration and nobody seemed ill at all. It was like they were all borrowing energy from each other and were moved to move. Clearly, what I don’t know about voodoo is a lot.

Robert and Richard turned to me again to see if I wanted to say something to the priest about my heartbreak. I couldn’t do it. First of all, I’m sure that all of these people had way bigger issues that required his attention and secondly, I didn’t want anything to invade this experience.

So here’s my advice... If you ever have the opportunity to go to a voodoo village in Ghana, do it.

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