I’m currently in the process of preparing a speech about how to travel safely and smoothly through Thailand and it’s mostly consisting of personal travel stories. Things to watch out for. Stories to illustrate the different mentality. Anecdotes to show that life in an other country may be different but not necessarily better or worse. I’m thinking about writing some of these memories down and posting them on this blog. You can view it as a short story, or maybe as a tip in case you plan on traveling. It’s totally up to you, I’m only here to share my experiences ;-)
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Let’s start with my first Sunday morning in Dzemeke, a tiny village in Togo.
We were advised that we should go to church. The plan was to introduce us to the villagers, and as the village actually consisted of a collection of small villages, we ended up going to not just one church, but four.
The whole experience was a bit strange and surreal as none of us volunteers were even the least bit religious. We were welcomed with open arms though, and everyone was so friendly and nice. All the women were dressed in their finest, most colourful clothes and they were looking absolutely gorgeous. The music was full of rhythm and it seemed like fun – such a huge difference from what I knew church to be.
One thing they couldn’t quite understand though was how we could not believe in God. How we could not have faith. A conversation with one of the men living in the village went like this.
“So you don’t believe in God?”
– “No, I’m afraid not.”
“And you don’t go to church on Sundays?”
– “No, no point in going when you don’t believe in God, you know.”
“So what do you do on Sundays when you don’t go to church?”
– “I don’t know… sleep in, I guess. Spend the day at home with the family.”
“That’s it? That’s all you do on Sundays?”
It was the strangest thing and that moment showed me how drastically different we see certain things. Nevertheless, they welcomed us to their community, eager to show us a part of their culture and life and it certainly was an experience I won’t ever forget.
I attended a catholic school, yes, I went to mass and had religion classes. I’m baptised and confirmed but those were more done out of tradition than belief. I haven’t been to church since I finished school and I don’t think I will go again any time soon either. I don’t want to get into a huge discussion about religion, I only meant for this to be a little story, something small that had a big impact on me.
Here are some of the churches we went to: