We crossed paths with some members of a secret society on our way to work today. It was one of the most interesting things I’ve seen in the hundreds of trips I’ve taken down the road to Royesville.
We had just come to the top of a hill and as we crested over the rise, our front bumper and their “rear” bumpers almost touched. It took a minute for the scene to register. There were four white bits of fabric covering bits of black bodies, but it took me a moment to figure out that it was four young women and one small girl standing on the road, bent at the waist with their butts pointed at us. They were dressed in all white with white paint on their faces and limbs. As soon as we saw them, the well team started saying quiet prayers to God asking him to protect us.
Their ring leader, dressed in normal Liberian clothing, indicated we should stop and while she walked over to the truck I addressed my crew, “Is this normal, is everyone okay with this?” They nodded yes with their heads while they stared at the girls.
The leader reached the truck, indicated we should roll down the window, then asked us to give some money to the girls of the secret society. We were told that once we gave them money we could pass. Although the situation was strange, it didn’t feel threatening to me. I handed over a dollar then asked if I could take their picture. The picture was taken, the path was cleared of “rear bumpers” and we were on our way.
Apparently, secret societies are alive and well in Liberia, but I have yet to meet anyone who claims to be a part of one. Since it’s a SECRET society I suppose no one would really talk about it, nor would they?