Christmas in Kenya has a lot of traditions that we really enjoy. Besides running around in shorts and t-shirts we do several activities that we find meaningful during this season. This year we carried on the tradition of having lunch with the men who work in the laundry here at the school. We roast a goat or sheep, spend time together, eat a lot of good Kenyan food, the men sing a few songs, we share a short devotional, and then we give them a small gift usually sugar and flour which have become very expensive here to get. We made a video of what we did this year so feel free to watch it to hear some songs sung in Kikuyu as well as some pictures of the event.
Each year we deliver Christmas hampers to those who are less fortunate in the community. The Sunday school program takes the tithes that the children bring and put together hampers of food items to be distributed to needy people in the community. These people are picked by community leaders and have experienced some pretty hard times. Usually it is some older people with many children they are looking after since the parents had acquired AIDS and most had past away within the year. It is heartbreaking to see so many children having to be cared for by people who no longer work full time jobs. We hope that sometimes our hampers will alleviate some of the problems they have for a short time. This time we found a large group of children following us just waiting for their chance at stardom. Here is a short video of them wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Also on Christmas Eve we go to the hospital to sing Christmas carols. There is a large group of people that generally split up into smaller groups and go to the different wards to sing to the patients who cannot leave for the holidays. We give practical items and candies and everyone appreciates the time of singing and greeting those who cannot go to be with their families. This year there were not so many people in the hospital which was good to see. Those that were still there though were quite sick or recovering from surgery. We spoke to as many as we could trying to encourage them as they recovered from their physical ailments.
On Christmas day we also have the tradition of going to have “breakfast with the guards”. There are several guards who need to work on Christmas day so we go around and share some food and hot drink with them. Two other families joined us as we visited each of the gates to wish the guards Merry Christmas and give them a loaf of banana bread and chai. We really appreciate the work that they do and try to express that to them by doing this simple act before we start opening presents and having our own Christmas dinner. Kylie got to cook her own turkey this year of which she was very nervous about but the rest of us were confident that she could do it. It turned out great and we were all well fed.
Finally, we participate in the New Year’s Day activities that the AIC church holds on one of our fields. People from the community come to play games and then have lunch together at the church hall. Since Todd is a P.E. teacher he gets to help organize this time and usually get involved in some activity, like an egg toss, that will get him really dirty. The church organizes a soccer game as well between the youth and the older men which can get pretty competitive. It is a good way to enter into the new year and we all expect many people and many hours of activities.