Because of our itinerary, yesterday was nicknamed "Demon Day", with the first order of business being to visit the home of a local witch doctor. His eldest son, Elisha, guided us to his house and helped Pastor Robert to translate. He is in his early twenties, and is a devout Christian. He accepted Christ some years back, and is now a youth leader of sorts at True Worship Centre, the church that meets at Fountain of Hope. His father name is Emmanuel, which is rather ironic.
He lives right next to the school, and two years ago, when Fountain was buying the property for the school (which was owned by his father), he forged documents saying that it was really he who owned the land. Luckily, or rather, unluckily, depending on how you look at it, he ran away before he was able to get any money. He did this on account of the fact that the police were after him on charges involving human sacrifice. Scary, huh? I do not know why he is now living freely back in Bukeeka.
The tale he told of his occupation and beliefs was strange to say the least, and not altogether truthful. For the first hour or so, he told us about how he contacts the spirits (demons), and they tell him what directions to give to those who come to him. He even knows the names of many of the demons who he says belong to this area. Some of those he speaks with tell him they are the spirits of his ancestors, and he readily believes them. He is of the opinion that they can never tell a lie. He even believes that all spirits are good, and it is only some witch doctors and people that are bad. He told us that the head demon is synonymous with the Holy Spirit.
Emmanuel (it is hard for me to refer to him by such a name), attends a local Anglican church, and professes to be a Christian. However, it is clear that he is more than a bit mixed up in his belief system, in addition to being a blatant liar. For example, when he was asked what his views are on human sacrifice, he said that no true witch doctor (one who is called to his occupation by the demons themselves) will practice human sacrifice, as the demons do not approve of death and destruction. Obviously, this is not the case, as we know that demons thrive on such things, and that he himself has been involved in human sacrifice.
There is a nearby hill, with a portion of the face being made up of a large slab of stone, upon which the local witch doctors perform their ceremonies and sacrifices. They have built shrines there for the spirits they worship. Emmanuel offered to take us up to see it, but we did not have time, and I must say that I am glad we didn't have time to go up with him, because that does not sound like a place I would like to visit.
Emmanuel told us he daily pleads with the spirits not to plague his son, Elisha, since he refuses to worship them, but Elisha told us a very different story. He said his father refuses to pay for his schooling and living expenses because he refuses to worship any being but the one true God.
The witch doctor was not to be swayed in his beliefs, try as we might, and by the end he was becoming frustrated that he could not answer our questions consistently, so we knew it was time to leave.
After lunch, we went to visit the home of a girl who, up until recently, was attending Fountain of Hope, but then dropped out because apparently the demons had told her not to go. Like most in the community, she has an interesting living situation. She is 16 years old, and both of her parents have died, so she lives with a few of her seven siblings and her grandparents. When we were at their home, her grandfather put on a wonderful show of being the perfect guardian, saying how concerned he was that she (Shamim) is not going to school or to church. Even though he and his wife are Muslim, he made it seem as though he was very accepting of Shamim's Christian faith.
But then Sarah took the girl aside to talk to her privately, since she was unwilling to speak her mind in front of the whole group. Shamim told Sarah that her grandfather does everything he can do to keep her from church on sundays, and that he is abusive, and also refuses to provide necessary items for her (I am assuming this means clothing, hygiene items, etc.). Shamim also told her that her uncle is the one who has been sending demons to her, as well as to a few of her oldest siblings. She said that one of the biggest struggles in regards to this is that they sometimes keep her from being able to read. I, along with some others in our group, wonder if perhaps this particular problem is less spiritual and more physical, if perhaps she simply has poor eyesight, or dyslexia, but there was no way for us to tell.
The grandfather is, according to Pastor Robert, highly involved in witchcraft, so what she claims about spiritual troubles may be completely true. On the other hand, it could be a combination of both this, and being a hormonal 16 year old girl rebelling against guardians who do not know what to do with her. The plan is to move her into boarding, pray over her, and wait to see if things improve. But until she can be taken from her toxic environment, there is not much to be done.