I know many of you have commented on and been concerned about my frequent attendance at church. No worries! I am fine and I haven't joined a cult! A big portion of my research centers around the influence of religion and church on students lives and their sexual decision-making process, so it would follow that I would spend a lot of time in church. I down-played this aspect when discussing my trip because I knew everyone would likely think I am even crazier than you already thought, so while it may be surprising to you, it isn't to me.
So on top of my research interests you have the added aspects of I am living in Nigeria and I am living with and researching Evangelical Pentecostals. Both of these generalized groups go to church a lot and it's basically multiplied by two. So church, a lot. A LOT. Regular Sunday service is between 3 and 4 hours long. And then there is Bible study on Wednesdays and a Friday evening service for good measure. When school is in session the University has a student led fellowship on Tuesday afternoons and mandatory Friday chapel service. So yeah, lots of church. These people are SERIOUS about their faith. The Church is located on Faith Way, and their house is located on Redemption Ave. No messing around here. I am not required to go to anything and I have the free will to do whatever I want so if I am attending church you can be sure it is my choice. Part of it is research related and part of it is courtesy to my hosts.
The past week has been their annual women's conference. The conference is 5 days and basically runs from 5:30 am to 9 or 10 pm with 2 breaks (2-3 hours) during the day. I did not go to ALL of the sessions, but I tried to make 1-2 per day. Needless to say, even with skipping I spent about 40 hours in church this week. I learned a lot about their personal religious beliefs and witnessed a lot of different things. Overall it was good. The only real downside is that I have been exhausted all week! And add on the overwhelming heat inside the church and the lengthy periods of sitting and listening it made it very hard to stay awake sometimes. But I managed! All in all though, it really helped to give me some perspective on the role of faith in people's lives here, a good solid view of the beliefs of the people in the church, and access to a lot of different people who talked to me at length and gave me some new perspectives on different aspects related to my research.
Anyway, no worries, all is fine with me!