It takes steady legs and a determined heart to climb the ladder of success. Since the world felt powerful associating with already made personalities, each day served me a plate of zeal to change my life for the better. Aunt Aba bought back my fabrics at a good price and I decided to work less to allow me space to learn for my basic exams. Two days to the first paper, I felt some fear pangs in my abdomen. Ntwanu visited when he could and brought me things he thought I would need.
Shai called me to come to the Glory of God Church and just ended the call around mid morning. I got worried about her frightened tone. Between my books and new family, I felt like I was walking on needles. I just put on a shirt and mini skirt and headed to the place in my car. Dido, my new bodyguard, followed in another car. Upon reaching the church, I saw Shai draped in some white calico (stained in blood) from head to toe and tied to a pole in the middle of the church. As members of the church closed their eyes in loud prayers and clapping, the man of God was pouring some kind of water on Shai. His disciples were hitting her with canes and she looked really beaten with marks and swelling on her face.
I wanted to understand what was happening so asked out loud:
“What’s happening here? Why are you abusing someone’s daughter like this?”
The pastor took a bell and shook it and the whole church became quiet, then spoke:
“Let there be quiet! There is another sinner in our midst. Even her clothes show she is working as a devil of the night too. I told you getting one will bring another, didn’t I? The Lord never lies! Great Mazuka!”
“Mazuka is king!” thundered the church.
Before I could say “hey”, I was in the grips of his disciples with calico being used to cover my body. I was sent to another pole, tied and the ritual began. Whipping and torturing words:
“ Pray for the demons of lust to get out of this person. Shoot the devil of prostitution from them, be sure to throw the catapult of stones on the demons possessing these two and finally, shoot them with the Holy Spirit in prayers. Now start.”
I was shocked at the pain supposed men of God could inflict on their fellow beings but could not think straight because of the loud voices with the added claps and the strong scented water. One woman had the voice of a loud guinea fowl.
“Yehowa you are Yarweh! Show your mercy to these sinners and let them be free from demons of prostitution! As I clap, trap the evil spirits within them and make them flee. I throw the catapult of Mazuka on these demons, I bind them with the rope of the All Seeing, I shoot them with the gun of Almighty and I bomb them with the fire of the Holy Spirit. Yiri maputu! Yiri uzani, yiri nara, ibei adula.”
The woman, tall, huge, bleached and rewarded with the colours, orange, red and green kept clapping and repeating same words for over thirty minutes. I felt somewhat scared anytime she ended with the strange words. It was as if she was chanting. I didn’t know what was keeping Dido but it sure made me feel unsettled. Just when I was about to ask them what we could do to be free, the men barged into the church premises, Ntwanu leading. Those I knew and those I did not know. They numbered about 30 wielding bats and sticks with few holding guns.
Ntwanu fired a warning shot and I was surprised to see the pastor kneeling and shivering like a leaf. The church scattered as all church members kept running helter skelter. Some calling on God, others calling on Great Mazuka! While some of Ntwanu’s men untied me, I watched as he dealt the pastor some slaps. I had never seen him so fierce and angry and in action. I saw a different side of him. One disciple urinated on himself after watching his leader slapped over and over again. The pastor was fat with a huge stomach, dressed in a red robe in a barefooted mode with eyes almost popping out.
After disciplining them for two minutes, I realized the others handcuffed the leader and his disciples. Ntwanu and Dido took us home. I didn’t say anything on our way home although I wanted to know what was going to happen to the handcuffed. Ntwanu was worried about my silence but I was concerned about the new Ntwanu I saw. Ruthless and cruel! When we reached home, the family doctor was waiting. He attended to our wounds and gave Shai some injections with some infusions. I sat by her bed and watched over her, my wounds barely visible and relevant to me. I had failed the girl I swore to protect and I felt so bad. Mimi had travelled with a client and Shai was in charge of our underground business. How she ended up tied and tortured by a supposed church was besides me.
“Baby girl, aren’t you going to talk to me? I am dying of sadness seeing how you are trying to avoid me.”
Ntwanu’s voice took me by surprise. I thought he had left.
“I am not avoiding you, I am just in shock. The ordeal was a bit shocking” I partially lied through my teeth.
“I know there is something more. I hope you know I will never hurt you? I love you so much baby girl. I will give my life if need be, to make you happy”.
I hugged him at that point and saw him off with a French kiss that I did not put my heart into.
Shai woke up a little after midnight and narrated her story.
“All the girls had been booked so when the order came in for 2000 cedis for an hour, I decided to go myself. Upon reaching there, I was ushered into the church. I thought it was the fantasy of the man to have sex in the church so I stripped and started making advances towards him. I kissed him and after enjoying for a while he started calling Great Mazuka. Some people came, caught and attacked me. It was in the morning they asked that i spoke to my mother to come and see my salvation”
I asked myself what a church was. Why it believed in casting our demons of sins. Why that particular one ordered a prostitution agency to send a representative only for them to pounce on her. I just didn’t understand the kind of salvation they as individuals wanted to give and the kind of thoughts they had been brainwashed to have. Questions about them kept running through my mind. How do they perceive God? How do they walk around without fearing their shadows. (Because clearly, sin is part of our daily struggles.) How do they live? Do they ever live with some form of happiness when they can’t stand their little sins? In a world where a sin today is the win tomorrow, how do they accept the change? I knew prostitution will always be bad but isn’t it part of our lives? Even men use their sexuality in exchange
Well, I had examination just lurking around the corner so fed Shai, tucked her in, made sure she was sleeping and put her phone by her side, then went to my room to study. Life’s battles have stubbornness embedded in their hearts but they surely are the center of living. I swore never to lose out and to live fully, loving and protecting loved ones.
Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © December 2017.
Photo Credit: Google Pics