So I checked out of my hotel and moved in with Juliet. I’d heard that of course they were intent of marrying you, so I made sure, and repeated that I would only stay for a few days! It turned out being a rather interesting few days. Firstly, one must comment on how open African women are. I don’t think too many western women would, after only just meeting go to the toilet with the door open in front of you and not think twice.
Juliet was very religious and insisted I go to church with her. I’m not interested in belonging to any faith, but this was a chance to experience black church. If it was anything like the movies it was bound to be fun!
We entered the church and were greeted by a pastor shouting rather aggressively; I wasn’t impressed. Thankfully it wasn’t long before the music started. First a few simple hymns which were great, but it was the almost hour long jam session that really stole the show. Reminiscent of a Grateful Dead show no doubt it was simply amazing. The whole church was dancing and singing with all their heart, there was even a small conga line started! After about 45mins everything developed into the Divine, and several people were having fits and losing control of their bodies and minds. A women in front of me was passed out on the floor, eyes rolled back and screaming with the devil inside her. The ushers eventually managed to pick her up and take her to the back of the church were a prayer would be said and the evil spirits dispelled. An amazing sight.
For me, the whole experience was very similar to that of a psychedelic trip. One lost control of the meaning of time and it seemed the whole room had morphed into a giant organism (which of course it had) I however, had no feelings of having any revelations or deciding then and there that my future lay with Jesus. I was thinking however that perhaps a few mics of acid could have persuaded me!
So, the Jam session eventually came to an end, and not long after we were again seated and praying. A fantastic experience. After which I came to understand just why people are so Religious here, Church is fun!
It came about that it was obvious that I couldn’t stay too long with Juliet and her sister. Africans are obsessed with money, and getting as much as they can. It seemed the only topic of discussion was about this, and being that she was seen walking the streets with a ‘toubab’ this meant she was now living it up being spoilt.. Something which I could neither afford to do, nor felt it necessary to do. I was giving more than enough to cover the food expenses, but she wanted more. So, I had no choice but to pack my things. First thing first though; another outing to sing the praises of the Lord!
Although not as eventful as the night before (only one person had to recieve an exorcism!) it was stil great, and if it wasn’t for the constant shouting and praying I would most definitely have become a regular.
The following morning I said my farewells and headed for Banjul. I found an OK place and after dropping my things I headed out to take some snaps (something which I hadn’t done for a while!) I got a good reception. Gambians were friendly, and I had some good conversations with several before heading back and getting my hair cut. My hair was long again, and although i do prefer it like this it’s simply not practical in Africa. I’d been contemplating it for a while and finally decided to go ahead with it. So I walked into a local saloon, and after 30 mins it was all gone! I felt alot better!