Merry Christmas from Tanzania! We had a really lovely holiday as we reflected on our Savior's birth over 2,000 years ago. Needless to say, it was a different celebration than the one we had in America last year, but still good. On Christmas Eve, we went over to the Wolfs' house for food and fellowship, and enjoyed celebrating Hayden's first Christmas with them. When we got home, we let the kids each open one gift, and they loved that! Then we got up early this morning to finish opening the rest. Hannah's favorite gift was a doll from her grandparents, and Caleb's favorite gift was a Spider-man back pack. We hurried over to church for a special service. The children's choir sang the Swahili version of Hark the Herald Angels Sing, and after the service, there was a delicious meal of rice and beans, which all 120 of us enjoyed thoroughly. When we got home this afternoon, we relaxed and played with our gifts, and talked to family on Skype. Tomorrow we are going to Babati for 2 days for a Christmas party with 3 other missionary families, and also Steve will be going hunting for the first and last time this season. He is really hoping to come home with a warthog--that would make a great New Year's Dinner!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Considering our location, we tend to group holidays/celebrations together so that out-of-town guests can kill ALOT of birds with one stone! So, the day after Hannah's K-4 graduation, we had her 5th birthday party. Usually we have some sort of theme, but Hannah, wanting to be sensitive to the fact that there would be BOYS at her party, decided to avoid anything "girly" and just have a costume party--even the adults had to dress up! This led to one of my more embarrassing moments in Tanzania as I tried to explain to a local seamstress how to make a Larry-Boy costume for Caleb. Anyway, Hannah was Genevieve, Caleb was his favorite superhero, Moriah was a princess, Shawn was a policeman, Jamison was a firefighter, Hayden was a dinosaur, Steve was a fisherman, Nate was a tourist, Heather was an Indian, and I (for lack of planning) stuffed a pillow in my shirt and was a pregnant woman. Hannah's favorite gift was a slip-and-slide, so after a big serving of yummy ice cream cake, we all headed outside to watch the fun.
The day after Thanksgiving, we had a special little "K-4 Graduation" for Hannah at home with the Myers and Wolfs. (Can you tell we don't get out much?) She shared with everyone some of the most interesting things that she had learned about this year, quoted some Bible verses, and read part of a small book for us. Steve prayed for her, that God would help her to continue to love learning her entire life, and that she would bring glory to Him while obeying His plan for her life. We celebrated with punch and cookies, which Hannah made by herself. We are very proud of our daughter!
It happens every year--someone in America asks us, "So, are you having a special Thanksgiving service at church?" This year, it was my mom, so I can't groan too loudly! Ok, my American friends, Thanksgiving is only celebrated by AMERICANS. No, we do not have a special service at church, and nor are turkeys readily available. I did manage to buy one imported from Kenya at the bargain price of around $4 a pound. It was a 22-pounder, so you can do the math. Anyway, we really did have a special celebration with our AMERICAN friends. The Myers came with their 4 kids from Babati, the Wolf family joined us, and 4 Peace Corps Volunteers in our district came over as well. The kids did a short-but-sweet program where they quoted Psalm 100 and sang "We Gather Together", and before the delicious meal we went around the table, sharing about the blessings we've experienced in the past year. We had already decorated the house for Christmas the previous Tuesday, so we enjoyed listening to Christmas music, and after playing football and basketball outside for a few hours, we watched the movie "Elf" while eating turkey and bacon sandwiches.