Just above the blue “POST NO BILLS” sign you can see directly into the church grounds. One would never know just how big the lot is until you peer in over the gate. Most of it is free of trees and tiled with reddish clay earth. The church itself occupies just a small corner and doesn’t call too much attention to itself.
The back wall of the church holds another gate that opens everyday at exactly 5:30. Men, women and children appear dressed all in white and begin to sing. Some wear shoes, others prefer bare feet. The girls wear white scarves over their heads. They march in the exact same direction everyday tracing the footsteps left from the day before. Their feet and voices make four laps around as the oldest man calls out, “Right, left, right, left,” between verses to keep everyone on track.
We’ve rushed to hear them sing countless times. When we arrive too late, we can see the dust settling and the voices disappearing behind the gate. They know we watch them. They can see us clearly as they circle round. The men never make eye contact but a few of the young girls sing louder when they pass as we exchange smiles.
They do this each and every evening to thank God for granting them another day. I admire their commitment to ritual. We watch until they return to where they came, the dust settles again on the reddish clay earth, and the youngest one turns to wave as she locks the gate.