Santarem PA, May 31st, 2012 — my peers and I were sweating profusely and the time was about 2050 hours and our guide Nathan Darity informed us that we had just enough time to make it to the “candomble” or Voodoo temple ceremony. Our small group hopped into the van and made our way down the unlit road to a small house, which was behind a wall, decorated with pictures of what looked like African American versions of Catholic saints. This was going to be interesting. We cautiously entered the temple during what appeared to be mid service and noticed some things right off the bat. For one thing we were the only sweaty, Caucasian college students with a guide wearing a full Capoeria uniform in the building and this set us apart immediately and in all honesty gave me a feeling of unease. Nonetheless, the group sat down and the service continued, apparently we hadn’t bothered anyone and this made us all feel a little better. That is until the high priest, a gaunt man standing about 5’6” dressed in a blue, flowing robe, decorated in large cords of what appeared to be shells of all different colors, walked in and beckoned us to leave with him. It was at this point that I assumed we were getting booted for stinking up the church but the fact was to the contrary he was actually inviting us to observe the shrines of his temple. Our full group continued outside as we were introduced to a number of separate temples and rooms that were dedicate to the 14 gods of the Voodoo religion. Upon returning to our seats, after our tour we sat and observed quietly and respectfully. There were three drums played by three individuals while three men danced or rather stumbled around the main floor of the temple, drinking scotch and smoking cigarettes all the while. I found out later that this was due to the fact that the sound of the drums and singing allowed for them to channel the gods into themselves and if the gods wanted to drink and smoke, they were going to drink and smoke and they must have gone through at least a bottle of scotch and a pack of Dunhill’s a piece so I’m assuming the spirits were extra strong with them that night. The high priest stopped the service in order to tell the congregation that his was a welcoming temple and used Prado as a translator. The high priest told us that he was the embodiment of a warrior god so he had no fear and would always speak the truth. Throughout the course of the service the drumming, dancing, drinking and smoking continued for a total of 2 hours and finally concluded with the spirits leaving the bodies of the high priest and his subordinates.