Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What does God and Cyclones have in common?

I sit staring out the window down onto the busy workings of the Manzini bus rank (bus/khumbi depot of sorts).  I am exhausted from a days worth of travel, glad to finally be on my sixth and final leg of transport.  I am transfixed on the ladies sweeping the parking lot and putting the trash into a giant bomake bag.  My brain waves are so low they probably register as off and I’m not thinking of anything in particular. 

I am suddenly rocked out of my tranquil state by the over exaggerated preaching of a bus pastor.  The phenomenon of separation between church and state has yet to grace Swaziland and religion is not something you can choose not to participate in, at least not when you’re on a bus.  The style of worship here in Swaziland is loud; it is filled with passion, strained vocal cords, and flying spit.  Most passengers seem to enjoy it as they gladly provide an offering to the bus preacher. 

Its when the bus preacher stands, I quickly pull out my ipod hoping I can get a song playing before the first cry of “Siyabonga Jesu (thank you Jesus)” fills the bus.  Today I was too consumed by the actual picking up of trash that I failed to see the preacher rise and my peaceful state of being was invaded with the beginning of a sermon.  I slowly got my ipod out but by the time I chose a song he was done.  I guess we were only getting a prayer for a safe journey today.  The bus driver, to supplement the lack of sermon put on a video of church services from the 1980s in the USA; one of those services where the congregation is really into it, standing, singing, and overly swaying with their song of worship, big 80s hair bouncing all over the place.

Anyways I finally got my song of choice playing on my ipod and I listened to the sinful sound of American pop music while I watched the sermon (its like an accident, awful and uncomfortable but you cant help but watch).  My song of choice was ‘Cyclone’ by Baby Bash Feat. T-Pain.  It was selected in honor of Cyclone Funso that is festering over the Mozambique Channel.  As I listened the video switched to another church service where the congregation was dancing in a circle.  All of a sudden I lost it.  I was consumed by a fit of laughter that I couldn’t stop.  These faithful churchgoers were no longer passionately praising God, but were now dancing to the smutty lyrics of Cyclone.  Their circular movements matched the beat playing in my ears so perfectly.  I felt like I had beat the system, instead of having religion forced on me I was forcing my inappropriate music on them.  Their expression of praise I had reinterpreted as dance club moves, it was great.  Of course I was the only one to get the joke as no one else could hear Baby Bash telling me ‘she moved her body like a cyclone.’

So the answer to the question ‘What do God and Cyclones have in common’ I guess is that they both have influenced people to move their bodies in circles from time to time.

Cycle Funso has yet to move down and pour heavy rains onto Swaziland like Cyclone Dando did a week or so ago, but you better believe that if Funso does makes an appearance I will be moving my body like a cyclone to the song Cyclone during a cyclone.  Not everyone gets to check that one off their bucket list.

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