Enter me at Bethany House Sagana and the impression I get is a place where heaven exists (well, considering that it shares a compound with the mighty Sagana Catholic Church). The compound is green, the jacaranda tree, with all their purple beauty, are so tall they give the impression of the tower of Babel and their canopy forms a bed that can shelter anything from the strong heats of Sagana. The path to this “house” is all tarmac from the main road and the terraces are well manicured… Enter into the reception. The whole place is tiled in a sharp grass soup green and purity white, the waiting bay is covered with pictures of “men of old” from the bible giving an impression that you are entering a holy place, creating a similar feeling to what Moses would have felt at the burning bush, feeling of sacred and purity of the holy grounds you are standing on. There are a whole lot of bible verses taken from the scriptures and a lot of brochures advertising their many colleges and goodwill centers all over the country.
I get to talk to one of the priests and I realize that contrary to what I think of priests, they are highly regarded and expects everybody to treat them like saints….and people like me who view them like any other person in the world are not readily welcome into their little paradise of self elevation to holinity.
However, I get to get a good stroll around the center (as it turns out to be a center not a house) and it turns out to be a very posh area of conference facilities complete with boarding and prayer rooms (well, it’s a catholic outfit). All of this are tiled and draped in expensive wall attires though scarcely furnished, it has a great indoor scheme of a complementary African theme with well worked out dominant African colors: green, brown, yellow and white… turns out to be a magnificent place to hole up -when you remove the holier-than-thou attitude.
But what put me off was their assumption of my poor status. They could not bring themselves to tell me their price because apparently it was beyond my league….yea I said it, class matters to them. You may as, aren’t they the same ones who preach satisfaction and tolerance to us?? And all along, while he was busy trying to convince me the reasons why I could not afford, (which turned out to be that am too young, I was in a short and had a ball playing in my hands all along, I had my hair uncombed and –as to the priest-neglected and that I came on foot from the town center), I was busy thinking of how right Karl Marx was when he taught about class and religion. He did not mention what I had largely expected he would – like I am not catholic, I don’t look like somebody who prays etc.
So, while Karl Marx is waiting for a classless society in his grave, I was busy being judged from my outfit and ultimately my poor personality.
What shocked me was that when I went to the women’s village next door (read my next blog post), they found out about my academic background and social standing through somebody who knew me from home and all over suddenly I became an asset…I was even eligible of their sisterhood despite my Anglican background. I was a friend and, despite not being interested anymore, I was eligible for their conference facilities.
That is what the church does. As long as you are some person from the parish, a commoner as they call them, you are a burden they want to get rid of very fast, when you got status and prestige and can be a good source of income, you become their most valued asset….it was a nice lesson thanks to Sagana Catholic Parish…..