Of Spirituality, Religion and Foolish Beliefs

  Last Tuesday, I had a bitch of a day; I came home thirsty, tired and itching for a drink so when I saw a half-full bottle of water on the bedside table-which my son assured me belonged to his uncle, my brother-I didn’t hesitate to gulp it all down. I thought it “tasty”. How odd! Water is supposed to be tasteless.
  Well, what did I know? I had just drank water from the “miraculous” Nachi river which cures ALL ailments, from enlarged prostrate to infertility to blindness to even poverty, and I didn’t know it. Gee!
  The river is said to be so powerful and miraculous it sprout from a dry expanse of land and grew to be about four feet high/deep. The baffling thing is: we are in harmattan season, when other bodies of water are drying up, this one is appearing mysteriously and growing deeper.
  I have scoured the internet, asked environmentalists, looking for an intelligent reason why a body of water will appear overnight on a dry expanse of land; because I do not believe easily in miracle. But, then I’m alone in that unbelief. The hundreds of people that visit Nachi, daily, will call me stupidly wise: one of those people who question religious doctrines because she thinks she knows better.
  In a bid to justify the near-fanatic worship of the river, these pilgrims claim it is the aqua rapha-healing water-Fr. Mbaka prophesied about so long ago. Even though the good reverend has gone on tape, before his always-populous congregation to say that that isn’t the water he talked about; That the river could infact be a pagan god worshiped by the pagan Nachians of old, the Pilgrims choose to play deaf to his admonition. But why should they listen?!  He doesn’t know everything! Many other prophets prophesied about the miraculous river’s appearance; even the Northern Imams.
  So, you can imagine that my brother-whose friend had given him a bottle of the miraculous water-was far from happy with me. To his credit he didn’t rant or rave much, maybe because he didn’t believe too. But, while he was talking about how I turned to Jacob and Esau-ed him, I was weeping and lamenting inwardly: “Oh dear Lord! I just drank un-sterilized stream-water, I might be infected with typhoid or cholera!”
Christ! I should have wept harder because when I passed by Nachi on Monday enroute Awka via the old road, the crowd that were there spotting brand new, white gallons filled to the brim with muddy, dirty water (Yes! That’s the miraculous Nachi water!), had me cringing and nauseous.
  My dears, you need to have seen the crowd who were there for healing. Bus conductors screamed: “Onitsha! Onitsha! Onitsha!”. Old shaky women with walking sticks, (obviously scared of croaking), were a dime a dozen. They reminded me of my great-aunt who allegedly made a deal with a god that she would live a really long life. Well, she did! Lived to be 90, until, she got sick and was practically rotting alife but wouldn’t/couldn’t die and our Umunna had to go to the Alusi and undo what she did. Believe it or not , she died a few days after the ritual.
  Watching the crowd that milled about, stretching over ten miles, I lamented the ignorance of my people. Why wouldn’t cholera and typhoid reign supreme in Nigeria when literate and illiterate Nigerians go about (knowingly) drinking muddy water because they want miracles? Why won’t Pastors own private jets in a predominantly poor nation when citizens believe every cock and bull story proffered in God’s name? Why wouldn’t corruption be the norm when Nigerians are extraordinarily stupid, gullible and afraid to ask questions?


About Egoyibo Okoro

Beautiful. Friendly. Opinionated. Feminist. Scholarly. Political. Christian. Sometimes, I write in Engli-Igbo and/or pidgin English. Just so you know, I am naturally disgruntled about a lot of things, most especially gender inequality, human rights abuses, racism and corruption. #EndChildMarriage. #EndTerrorism. #EndPoverty. #EndRacism. #EndImperialism. The Igbo say, "egbe bere, ugo bere, nke si ibe ya ebena nku kwa ya" - Live and let live!
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