I know that for most of you who read my blog, Christmas started weeks ago, but in Tanzania, far removed from the manic commercialism of American Christmas, it begins today.
Actually, it is only starting today because the Lahash kids are writing Christmas letters to their sponsors, and Leah and I will be teaching them a few Christmas songs. We are all really excited about Christmas with these kids for two reasons:
First, Christmas is on a Friday this year, the same day as the Lahash kids program. In the States that would mean that the program is canceled to celebrate Christmas, but here it means that we get to spend Christmas Day with the kids! Because of extremely generous donations from a local bank, we'll be able to have a fantastic Christmas feast with the kids, complete with sodas for all!
The second reason we're all excited is the Lahash sponsorship Christmas program. We developed a program which allows sponsors to give toward a personalized Christmas gift for their sponsored child. As I get updates about sponsors giving to this program, we get to imagine Joseph riding his new bike, Jennifer and Noel looking so smart in their new clothes, or Zuhura learning to use her new sewing machine. So much better than getting any of those things myself, because I know how much these Christmas gifts will mean to the kids. (If you would like to give for one of these children who doesn't have a sponsor or whose sponsor cannot afford a gift, please contact me or my assistant at email@example.com.)
Personal reasons I'm more excited for this Christmas than I have been about any Christmas in a long time:
- I was thinking that I would be going out of town with the Muhagachi family, but they've changed their plans, so I get to be here with my darling kids and beautiful roommates and wonderful friends.
- NO FLEEPING CHRISTMAS MUSIC! (fleeping is a word I made up to replace certain inappropriate cusswords in my vocabulary, feel free to use it) Although I did run into my roommate's bedroom to listen to someone on TBN singing Ave Maria, and I'm teaching the kids my favorite Christmas carol (Oh Holy Night) today, I could go the rest of my life without hearing Feliz Navidad, Santa Baby, or Rudolph. I know this all sounds like rank heresy to some of you, but I have loved knowing that for roughly the past month you all have been hearing Christmas music piped in everywhere, but I can observe my personal policy of no playing Christmas music until mid-December. It actually makes me excited for the two Christmas CDs on my computer.
- People here don't give a lot of presents for Christmas, and I already arranged my family's Christmas presents (months ago). Leah and I are thinking of buying chips for all of the staff for lunch one day as our Christmas gift to them, and I'll buy the Christmas gifts for my three sponsored kids (I'm thinking a bicycle for Kibiro, since he already does so many errands for me, it will make him even happier to do my errands! Potina and Anjela will probably get new clothes, but don't tell them!). I might buy something small for my roommates, and I'll be done! We're all allowed to be excited about Jesus, not presents. It's really nice.
Time to get my Oh Holy Night on! (that sounds oddly inappropriate somehow...)