Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Witch Lives On

A few nights ago, my mom asked me if I wanted to go to a crusade.  A crusade, what on earth are you talking about?  "Come you will find out." As far as I knew, crusaders carried out the good deeds of the gospel, they were seen as an errand of mercy to right a terrible wrong.  Great, what am I getting into here!  When I got home from training I tried to hide from her, but this is an impossible task.  She corners me, and I plead with her not to go, it sounded so, well, so not like what I'm about!  She replied in her firm, but motherly way, "Tshepo, I invited you."  You can't say no to that, and after all, I am here to learn about Botswana culture!  I persisted though in finding out what I was getting into.  She relented and said that I would be learning about a wicked witch.  Oh boy, maybe she's taking me to some rendition of the Wizard of Oz, and they just call it a crusade.  I loved that movie as a kid, so I'm game!  It was a beautiful warm night and sitting outside under the stars, listening to my mom's gentle sweet voice singing hymns, I felt a sense of peace even though every single eye was on the only lekogoa at the crusade.  But, wait, they aren't singing the songs I know from the Wizard of Oz, and the program I see says The Witch Lives on!  Hmm, as far as I know, the wicked witch is dead!  All of a sudden the hymns stop, and two Preachers come out, neither looking like the Scarecrow or the Tin Man.  In loud gospel voices and gestures that I was only familiar with from TV, they began to preach, with me practically jumping out of my seat.  At that moment, I realized how Dorothy felt knowing she wasn't in Kansas anymore.

The preacher talked about a husband gathering some people to lift the body of his deceased wife from the ground because he had forgot to ask her some questions before her death.  He also needed some advice from her, and couldn't seem to figure things out on his own.  This they deemed an act of witchcraft.  There were quotes from the bible talking of witchcraft as a rebellious and loathsome practice, and those who practiced it were not tolerated.  The preacher then spoke about letting the dead be dead, and if you need answers, just talk to God, and live in the moment.  Ok, this isn't so bad, living in the moment is good advice, it even felt kind of good seeing how the powerful message affected those sitting under the stars on this night.

On the way home, mom innocently asked me if there was witchcraft in the United States.  I didn't know what to say---Yeah mom, I joined the PC because my boss put a hex on me.  Hey mama, can we engage in a conversation of how Harry Potter must be in a real predicament with salvation after leaving home early to learn wizardry and basically witchcraft, a condemned practice.  At least he was a good wizard!  But I couldn't do that because the people in this village don't have a true concept of Harry Potter, or the Salem Witch Trials, or how psychic phenomenon in different forms permeates other societies.  They have somehow maintained an innocence from all that we know, and they hold on to what is preached to them, and try to live by what they hear.  There's a lot to be said for that!  After I got home, safe from the crusaders, I looked into my mom's eyes and saw how peaceful her soul is.  She is someone who does live in the moment, is kind and compassionate to all that come her way, and that, of all things, should be appreciated and trusted.  I learned tonight that no matter if you are religious or not, it never hurts to hear someone else's view, even if it isn't in a familiar forum.  Still, as our Halloween approaches, my warped humor gets the better of me, and I wonder if the family wants to sit a spell and have some brew!

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