It was the night of the day we moved to a new apartment. We did not notice that the adjourning house was a church, Apostolic Church of God. May be because we horridly found and paid for the apartment, we didn’t care much about looking around.
At about 1am, just when we were settling down from the day’s hectic unpacking activities, we started hearing a couple of people chatting rather loudly for that time of the night. Before long, the chatting intensified as the place began swarming with people coming into the building next door.
Then it all began: Ejá gbá durá. Ni orukó Jesu, ámen. Ni orukó Jesu, ámen. Ni órukó Jesu, ámen, ámen, ámen.
Gbá durá! Gbá durá! Gbá durá!
Interpretation: Let is pray. In the name of Jesus Amen. In the Name of Jesus, amen. In the name of Jesus, amen, amen amen.
Pray, pray, pray!
And the whole place went haywire for about 10 minutes with worshippers hauling prayers like missiles into the air.
But then, that was just for starters. The prayers increased in tempo after every session until it become hysterically deafening.
Oh no! I mourned.
Little did I know that my night of horror was about to enter the highway.
As the prayer came to a sudden end, a member of the church raised a song which was quickly picked up by the congregants. Then came the drumming. Then came the stomping of feet and the dancing. It was like a series of thunder claps.
Lordy, my building was literally quaking like a small car would vibrate when an 18 wheeler whizzes past it. No, it was worse than that. It was like a 1.0 earthquake if you can imagine what that means.
The uproar, for lack of a better word, went on until 4am when the service came to an end.
The silence that followed was stunning. It was like I had been dispatched into space, floating away in absolute peace. But as soon as I was attempting to catch some little sleep, a fresh set of worshippers came in just before 5am to start another round of the same bedlam.
That routine continued for years until I took a trip out of the country for a while. Behind my residence at 1604 Q Street North West, Washington DC was a big church which I didn’t know was there until I went to the ground beside it to play long tennis. For all the time, I stayed in that location, I did not hear “one sound” from the church. That was the standard for most of the places of worship in the area.
Noise making in whatever guise was frowned at, be it in the church, at home or on the road. For the first time in my life, I learnt to drive without using my car horn. Horns are supposed to be used only when you sense a great danger to you life. You drive according to the rules so there is no need to be blasting away at the horn indiscriminately as we do here.
As for playing loud music at home? Well, except you want your neighbor to invite the police for a chat with you, you are expected to play your music for your personal enjoyment only.
To be continued.