Friday, January 11, 2008


December 25

This year was lacking a bit in the cinnamon smells, colorful lights, cold snowy days, and family visiting that usually accompanies Christmas. Nevertheless, we did our best here in dry, hot Africa, to create a little of the Christmas spirit.

Liz and I, both coming from families that faithfully tromp out to find the best pine-smelling tree every year, were adamant that we needed a Christmas tree. So the two of us headed out one evening in December to find something that would suffice. Our rules were that it had to at least have the promise of being slightly green and had to be able to hold ornaments. Armed with a bucket, shovel, and saw, we marched out into the bush, carefully scanning anything that grew above the ground. After weaving our way around all the squatting people taking a dump out in the fields, we finally picked the lucky bush. From far away, it could almost be mistaken as holly. Soon we had sawed it off, collecting extra pieces for a wreath and headed home, triumphant.

Despite the skeptic looks of Hans, Sonya, & James, we set it upright in a basket filled with dirt and began decorating with colorful little ornaments sent by Liz's family, while Christmas music played in the background, hot chocolate was made, and candles lit.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, we watched the classic, "It's a Wonderful life," and constantly played all the holiday music we had. Eventually our tree had to be replaced with a new one, since it died. So we cut down a bush that more resembled a pine tree, although it had 2-inch thorns sticking out everywhere.

On the 23rd, we held a Christmas party for the hospital staff. Sonya made a huge batch of delicious peanut butter cookies and juice, and we showed "The Nativity Story" after the generator came on.

On Christmas Eve, after work, we had a big dinner together with all the "white people" in Bere. It was a feast compared to what we usually eat and a great time to relax and enjoy each other's company. Everyone brought a white-elephant gift (I wrapped mine with mango leaves), and proceeded with exchanging gifts. The favorites were Sweet Pea lotion and chocolate!

Christmas Day wasn't very enjoyable for me. I worked and was sick with what I later found out was strep throat. After work, I ended up sleeping most of the evening and wishing I could be home.

The next morning, we headed off for Cameroon on vacation which is its own story...
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

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