Rounding Up 2017…

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There is only a week of 2017 left. In a few months, we will be saying the same of 2018.

Time does fly, you might stop breathing, lose your job or lack motivation to keep on but even when the your own clock stops ticking due to the finished power of the batteries, time will move on.

I was walking around the area I grew up, taking it all in as my bidding the year activity. The development, new buildings and freshly painted walls on the old establishments. It felt like a totally different place. 10 years can sure lead to a distinct transformation.

Are you the same person you were 10 years ago?

I decide the sun is too hot to keep strolling. I choose a place by the roadside to sit and write. My spot is where a shop should be open but is closed due to the Christmas travels. The breeze is cool and relaxing. How perfect.

Barely a minute after I have opened my writing space, a guy joins me. He calls me ‘sista’. I’m unsure whether it is the Catholic version or blood relations. I decide it is neither and wait for him to complete his agenda and leave me alone. As he found me.

He instead makes himself comfortable on the hard concrete that I have chosen as my seat. He asks if I would buy warus from him and his friend. No I’m not from around here, I said. I turn back to the work at hand.

Unajua jana kuna dem nlimwambia anunue akanishow hawezi, atakuwa majimaji. Mi nikashangaa kuwa majimaji ni nini. Na vile napenda waru, nazikula kila siku.

I wanted to say I do too, love them that is but changed my mind and said I don’t know instead. I didn’t know what kuwa majimaji means. It could translate to stupidity in the Swahili I know. I held myself back, no acting smart here Missy.

From business challenges, he dived right into religion. He asked me to read Matthew 7 and 28 hapo mwisho adding that if I didn’t own a Bible, I should spare 30 mbs to download one.

Unajua ile church iko pale juu?

Eeh, nimeiona.

Kwanza kabla nikwambie, wewe ni member? Unajua naweza kuambia vitu kumbe wewe ni wa huko. 

Hiyo church ni demonic. Ni ya madevo (devil). He continued when I shook my head.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. That is the one he was referring to. He added that hata vile imeandikwa ni kidevo tu. I looked at him keenly as he spoke but as earlier decided, no playing smart. I nodded as he advised me not to ever go there lest I be sacrificed.

When I was in primary school, the same issue was raised while we were out doing laundry one afternoon. The chore was completed faster with sharing stories and everyone wanted to show their prowess in general ‘knowledge and opinion’.

One girl stated that it was a devil worshippers church. The members entered the premises showing their backs. The things they did in there were Illuminati-like. Everyone was scared as their expressions showed. This was the time Illuminati was breaking the headlines.

No! I wanted to shout. They don’t do that. It is like the church you go to.. What do you know about churches? Aren’t you supposed to be Muslim? They would have silenced me. Not wanting to begin explaining how I found myself attending church, and a ‘devil’s’ one at that, I shut up.

Why do people create reasons for things they haven’t experienced? What do you gain from spreading rumours? Hearsay isn’t knowing anything at all. You must have learnt something from the Broken Telephone game, surely?

The one year I attended services there, we entered the church as anyone would enter their home. I can’t help but wonder where this one roots from. Did a person see people using their backs on a particular day? For that way, the claim would be valid.

Young children then went into a separate room and had Sunday School (I did for a while as I wasn’t a teenager yet). The teacher would make us learn songs and simple stories.

Adolescent boy and girls went into another Young Men And Women and there were taught the things that they could identify with. There was a guide who pointed the person to read a verse or lead in prayer. He/she also led discussions.

The parents and married individuals also had their session. After these separations, all groups congregate at the main hall for the joint service. The Bishop (I never heard them say pastor) would deliver the word and in between we would stand for hymns or sit for others.

The sacrament will then be distributed, a piece of bread and water for the baptised. Sadaka kutolewa in a very organized manner (the Bishop didn’t have to remind the congregation every other minute) and after the final prayer you are free to go home or interact with other members as you wish.

There is only one service, in the morning. By noon it is all done. Short and brief. Precise and clear.

Did I worship the devil all those Sundays I went there? I don’t think so. You can always tell a fishy gathering and it never appeared so. It was peaceful and calm.

Maybe, it is thought to be devil-ish because many white people go there. The missionaries clad in white shirts, black ties, pants and a pair of official shoes going round to the members houses?

Oh wait, some of the young men missionaries are of African descent.

Is it the English that is used throughout as a means of preaching and the absence of a Swahili service?

I do not know how the devil operates, you could spare a Sunday at the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints near you and tell me I was being blinded all along. I stand to be corrected.

As we usher in a new year in a few days, PLEASE we need to change our blind perceptions. Let us work towards building solid concepts with a strong foundation.

Do have yourselves Happy Festivities! Exercise safety first. See you in 2018!



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About Rehema Zuberi

Teller of 'taboo-d' tales.

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