In Cote D’Ivoire, religion is deeply incorporated in the fabric of our society. You are encouraged and given enough liberty to practice,any faith that suits you. Society is still conservative,but freedom of religion is a right for all citizens and people living here . Though the two main religions practiced here, are Christianity and Islam, you can easily find Buddhists, Animists, Judaists, Baahtis, and even others I am not aware of yet. We all cohabit peacefully together, and Christian and Muslim celebrations are both marked as holidays. I believe this harmony is achievable only here, because religion has been adapted to our traditions and customs, in a way. Syncretism is the key to us living relatively well together, and for the two main religions to actively prosper here. From the colonial time to present day, religion has involved into a monster that consumes and sometimes destroy integrity of its followers. I am Catholic, I believe in God, but lately here, it feels like religion has lost the passion and the fervor that move your soul.
Every time I have gone to a church service, it hasn’t felt all the way right. The service was monotonous, not impassioned, and honestly,empty. When I was younger, I loved going to church because it made me happy; my faith felt stronger and unwavering. As an adult, I have gone through my own crisis of faith, but in the end, I was more reinsured that my faith was an important and integral part of who I am, and I needed to grow it,tend to it frequently, nurture it and love it. It is not always the easiest task to achieve, but I chose faith to be my anchor in this funny world.
I see a lot of people, heading to cult, and I noticed how few still cultivate their faith. It astounds me to notice this, because one thing for sure,I knew was true of my fellow citizens, was of their immense faith. Whenever you are down, or lost,someone would always be quick to tell you to keep the faith, or have faith and heart because God doesn’t forget his children. Civil wars, political troubles, poverty, scarcity of opportunities have made it hard on all, to utter those advice with much sincerity. And with the proliferation of some churches that prey on poor populations by selling them dreams of being rich, travels and marriage, it is difficult not to feel jaded and disillusioned by all that is surrounded me.
The sad part is that I can understand why people have lost a bit of their heart and soul throughout the years; life is already tough as it is and if you live in any sub- Saharan African countries, you have it close to impossible to succeed. But on the little faith they have left, you can see still, young people braving unbelievable circumstances and obstacles to cross the Sahara and the Mediterranean sea, sometimes losing their lives, just to have a place in the sun.
Our faith in our respective Gods, is what makes us get out of bed every morning, and gives us the strength to go about our days. From the cab drivers to the fruit sellers to the underpaid government workers to the students, faith is the only constant that unites us and join us in our losses and in our victories.