Hallelujah! The pastor belts out from the church nextdoor. Going to church is supposed to be a good thing but this church is one of the things I was warned about, when I moved in. The landlord said it was the reason the last tenant moved out. Hearing this on an ordinary weekday, I wondered idly, “how bad could it really be?” But I had already paid the rent. There was no going back. The church and I were neighbours, for better or worse. I could not exactly ask for a refund and go back to house hunting.
Anyone who has dealt with house brokers knows what I am saying. Once upon a time when I was trying to find a house in
, this broker always took me to see houses that had “just been taken”. We would reach this cosy little place where I could see myself having a cup of tea on the verandah and the caretaker would give us the bad news – the place was taken. After several attempts, I gave up finding a house in Ntinda. So, having once suffered the pain and futility of hunting for nothing, I was not prepared to go through the same experience on the West Coast of Kampala (go figure). I made up my mind that whatever challenges the church presented, I would take them in my stride.
Not long after I moved in, it was Sunday. In fact, when I moved in, the very next day was Sunday. The morning was cool and breezy. All was going well until the church started the praise and worship at about 7am. I understood then why the previous occupant had moved. I was so tired from lifting stuff during the house move. All I needed was one quiet Sunday morning to lie in. I am told that the blaring church microphones were tolerable from my end of the house but the other house occupants whose walls were closer to the church had it rough. When the church chose to worship all day into the evening, they could hardly sleep.
Again, though I have nothing against God and church worship, I was relieved when about three months later, the country went into a lockdown. The church, along with the video halls, nightime boda bodas and football fans went silent. I slept well and had colourful dreams. The closure of churches was so long that it is rumoured the resident pastor rethought his plans, opting to move away. I couldn’t have been happier.
Although the church is still here and the new pastor’s voice still intrudes on my thoughts as I prepare for Monday, at least this Church is toned down. The services don’t start as early or last as long. And owing to the curfew, we don’t have to put up with the night prayers, which used to frighten me ,honestly. It always sounded like small girls were being abused, as they cried and the pastor shouted at them, apparently casting out demons, in the dead of night.