To be honest, I don’t pray (anymore). Last time I went to church, I can’t remember. I’m Catholic. All my family are. But I don’t know what happened to me.
My mother who was a catholic ever since was very religious. Every sunday, she would drag us from bed just to attend the mass. But for a typical boy like me, I would prefer to just stay at home and play with my pokemon cards. It came to a point that she would bribe us just to see the mass. She would treat us to a nice restaurant or the newly opened fast food chain that time. And of course, we would give in.
And as we grew older, things have changed. I stopped going to church entirely. I refused even though my family would tease me that I will be going to hell with my attitude.
But the recent events in my life were really transforming my stance on this religion thingy. I almost died. No, seriously.
So I’m working on a minesite. I get to go for a 3-week vacation every 9 weeks. Just before my second Field Break, I got sick with Malaria. I know this time will come. I’ve prepared my mind into this. But I wasn’t prepared for the things to come. I thought I will definitely die. Next to HIV, Malaria is one of the causes of deaths here in Africa. And 90% of the Malaria cases are recorded in Africa. The headache, fever and the chills are really alarming. I don’t have an appetite. And I cannot walk straight. My head is like being hammered over and over again. I will die, I thought to myself. I will die.
Well, I didn’t die. I recovered after a couple of days. But believe me or not, I was saved by Malaria. I was supposed to go to Ouaga to catch a flight for Dakar for my vacation. But I was sick and can’t travel so I missed my flight. During that time, there was a coup d’etat at the capital of Burkina Faso. Several people were killed because of the demonstrations and riots. I was saved.
If you are watching the news regarding ISIS or the Al Qaeda, maybe you are aware with the terror attack in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. But if not, let me enlighten you. On January 15, 2016, a group of armed men (Al Qaeda) attacked the Splendid Hotel and the nearby coffee shop Cappuccino in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso. 30 people of different Nationalities were killed during the siege. 56 were wounded and a total of 176 hostages. The same hotel where I stayed just a week before. The same hotel where I stay during my Field Breaks. And the funny thing is, I was supposed to be there during the attack. Thankfully, my Field Break on December was moved to January.
So as I was contemplating with my life, I realized maybe it’s not just luck. Three incidents on my first year of overseas assignment. Amazing! So I’m thinking, maybe there’s a higher power above it all (I just need some reminding). Some call Him Jesus, maybe Allah, Buddha and whatnot. But I’m still thankful for what He has done for me (so far).