DOZ Issue 39 January 2019 - Page 38

very strong connections and we were able to see him later that evening after waiting only four hours. During the counselling session, he wanted to know what each of us wanted. Maureen had seen him before so she didn’t make any requests for herself. My mother wanted her business to do well and I wanted Emeka to marry me. He prescribed a three-day fasting and prayer session for us after which we would take a bath at midnight. According to him, the bath would wash away the evil in our lives and attract the blessings we wanted. We were expected to remain in the church until the spiritual exercise was over. When we left his office, we went into the large church hall to look for a place to keep our belongings. While mum watched our bags, Maureen and I went to a nearby market where we bought mats, bathing buckets, cooked food for our dinner, water, and other things required to make our stay comfortable. We had our dinner and took our baths before joining in the night prayer session. With the prayers over, we spread our mats and settled for the night, it had been a long day and we were all exhausted. The next three days were hectic. We fasted from morning till 6pm and were not even allowed to drink water. There were four major prayer sessions each day, at 6am at 12 noon at 3pm and finally at 6pm, and we were encouraged to pray on our own at midnight. However, on the last night there was a midnight prayer for all those who would take part in the spiritual bath. The prayer was said just before the spiritual bath commenced. What happened was that the evening before, when the fast was broken, everyone engaging in the spiritual bath was asked to place their buckets of water outside, in preparation for the DOZ Magazine | January 2019 bath at midnight. There were two bathing sections, one for the men and the other for the women. We set out our buckets of water in the spots we had selected and beside the buckets we placed our bath sponges and soaps and returned to the church hall. The ‘man of God’ went out and prayed over the items from that time till 11pm. At exactly 11pm he came into the hall and gave us instructions for the spiritual bath. The first instruction was that no one was to leave the hall to go outside until it was time for the spiritual bath and after the bath we were to come straight inside the church hall. The second instruction was that as The next three days were hectic. We fasted from morning till 6pm and were not even allowed to drink water. we went to bathe, as we bathed, and as we returned from bathing, we were not to talk to anyone - rather we were to be in a mood of prayer. The final instruction was that as we bathed we were to say, “I wash off bad luck and everything negative in my life.” After the instructions were given, an intense prayer session began, with everyone’s eyes watching the clock for midnight. Immediately the clock struck twelve, the ‘man of God’ took his large bell rang it loudly and screamed, “Eli-jah-karah!” I still don’t know what that means but once he said it, we all ran outside to where we had dropped our buckets of water the evening before. A few people in the frenzy mixed things up and went to the 38 wrong place in search of their buckets. It was really a drama. I call it the drama at midnight. Then my mother and I also had our little drama. We had placed our buckets side by side with our soaps and sponges in bowls in between the buckets. At first my mum couldn’t find her sponge and she reached for mine at the same time I reached for it and a tug of war ensued. I would have laughed, except at the time it was not funny. I wanted to tell her to let go because the sponge belonged to me, but we weren’t allowed to talk. In the midst of the struggle I discovered her sponge where it had dropped to the ground in front of her bucket. I leaned over, without letting go of mine of course, picked it up and threw it in her face. At that point she released mine and we both began the spiritual exercise. When we were done we got dressed and rushed back into the hall where we prayed till 3am, before we were allowed to get some sleep. We left the church later that morning and the ‘man of God’ prayed over a bottle of oil for me and instructed that I use it with my body lotion to attract men. According to him, not only would Emeka begin to desire to marry me but other rich men would also begin to approach me for marriage. On hearing that my mother was filled with joy and she thanked the ‘man of God’ over and over again. I gave him some money and then we left. We decided to look for a hotel nearby to lodge; the plan was that the following day my mother and Maureen would return to Ughelli and Sapele respectively, while I would go to Emeka’s house as though I was coming straight from school. …to be continued in the next issue.