Chapter 9: Deliverance

Happy Blog Day to all regular and new readers, this week we have our third guest on the blog, K. René. His writing is slightly different from what’s usually posted but I am certain you will enjoy it. Remember to leave your comments below :).

” The third time I would realise that I did not take him as seriously as he wished to be taken was in a place, I had no business being in. It was in that Deliverance Church, the one near a cement depot at the bus stop near a mall. It was a strange place, the congregation, and the cement’s dusty smell, and the pastor: who wore funny, sharp shoes and shouted a lot. And I had no business being in this his place of business. 

It was a hot Sunday morning, as most Sunday mornings in Rongai had the irreverent habit of being and having run out of things to ignore doing at home, I let my little legs carry me towards that building. Seeing it—sure I had seen it, one could always see it on their way elsewhere, on a matatu, or on a donkey cart, or on foot. The apartment complex that had people’s houses above the cement depot, and then next to the cement depot on that same ground floor, were the large doors that would be closed for most of the week but open loudly on Sunday morning. Then it was as if the people who lived above it would be vomited into the church. And then they would dance. Dance, sweatily. Sing. loudly. And someone with some guitar at the front would overpower them all. Screechingly. And then someone with a drum set would overpower him. Thumpingly. It would be loud. And one could have decided to observe it all from the bus stop. Or on a matatu. Or on a donkey cart. Or on foot, on their way elsewhere. But that day, my legs were carried by a curiosity of their own. A curiosity that in a certain dark part of my mind, I would have to admit, I had nurtured and watered. Religiously. 

It was loud and as I stood in the back clapping out of beat with the songs being sung at the front, I decided it was because I had been to church on Saturday, so I was all worshipped out. Or it was that I was from a different brand of this worship, where we did not sing this loudly or dance this frenziedly (or at all), so my bad clapping was excusable. Soon after enough sweat had been shed, the man with the pointed shoes came up to the front. He was already shouting. In a raspy voice. It was harsh. And uninviting. Which was strange given that he was inviting someone to go up. 

So, she went up.

She was poor. And she was barren—or rather childless. There was a husband. She said he would come home to a house that was not filled with children, and afflicted by this situation, he would brutalise her. And the neighbours would hear. And gossip. And not buy from her shop in case whatever she had (that childlessness) was contagious. So, she closed her shop. Content to sit at home all day and wait for the man to come home and visit pain upon her. She cried again.

She was possessed with a demon. A bad demon, the man said. She needed to be delivered. He had come against this type of a demon before. And had delivered scores of wives from it (never their husbands). Well, the name of the church was Deliverance Church, so if it could not happen here, where else could it?

He slapped her and she fell to the ground. Stunned. My curious legs lifted me to stand on a chair to see the ground she had fallen on. He shouted, demanding the demon leave her. It was not yielding. So, he screamed louder than she cried. And wiped the sweat that rivered his furrowed brow with a cloth. Somewhere in his experienced frenzy, he would kick her carelessly in the stomach. Severally, so I do not think it was a mistake anymore. Heavily. And I had to wonder what respite she, lying on the floor grasping and gasping, was having here: kicked by this man and the other.

I do not know that the demon left her. Or that he succeeded in binding it with chains of Shekinah Glory. Even as I went home later, sweaty from the sweat of others and dirty from the time that man had sprinkled something at the congregation, and they all fell to the dusty ground but me. And a man ran towards me stealthily and slammed me down in the name of the Lord. 

But I knew then, as I had known the day my teacher held out my little palms in front of the class and whipped them for my mouth’s saying that a god cannot die and she was a liar, that I did not take him as seriously as he would have wanted to be taken—the first time. I do not remember the second time. But it had something to do with hunger and prayer for food. And there would be more times. But that Sunday afternoon, in the Rongai heat, I just pitied the demon-possessed woman. And prayed that she would put her trust somewhere else. ”

René is an emerging African. A Grad student at Howard University and a writer who doesn’t write. You can keep up with him on twitter @odanga_r

2 thoughts on “Chapter 9: Deliverance”

  1. Rene is on his way to becoming a brilliant scholar and now I can see a writer as well. We have prepared you for this journey and in a very short time you are making us proud.

    I read this from the comfort of my home in Nairobi and I can visualize the building, preacher, and congregants. It is a painful characterization of the plight of the urban poor and the status of women in public and private spaces. Keep writing what you like, Rene!

  2. This was so beautifully executed! I feel like I’m experiencing it through his words. He needs to write more. Stop being a writer who doesn’t write, the world needs you. 🙂

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