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Christmas in Murgwanza

Christmas in Murgwanza (and Mitchells birthday)

Thankfully the sun decided to shine yesterday and today in Murgwanza. It’s been different having Christmas here but the message stays the same. Jesus came to earth as a babe in human form to save us from our sins.

Yesterday my big boy turned 11 (now that was another different Christmas all those years ago) but in Murgwanza we still had a great day.

We went as a family to the Saturday market for the last time yesterday. It was particularly busy as it was the Saturday before Christmas but still I am sure not as crazy as Hornsby Westfield. There was certainly no early morning opening or 24 hour trading in the food hall. The only seafood I saw was dried and smoked. The big ticket item on the Christmas menu in Murgwanza is Pilau. Some call it dirty rice!!! It is a spiced rice, meat and potato dish. I am a little embarrassed to say that we have it almost every week. So the ‘supermarkets’ in town were selling up big on spices.

After market we went home to unload the truckload of food we had bought including 12 kg of rice in preparation for next week’s farewell sherehe at our place.

Mitchell had requested bananas and beans for his birthday lunch (I love that both Mitchell and Jake have embraced the Tanzanian diet here, Oliver still eats nothing but biscuits and cornflakes!!!). I also had cakes to make as we were having a cake and soda party for Mitchells birthday with some of our friends. Unlike Jakes party we were the only wazungu present and there was no clown.

Mitchell's Birthday

We did have a dance competition in which Reginald excelled with his moves to the Jackson Five. The boys also had the slip’n’slide out again and it was enjoyed by our three plus Gilbert and Johnathon. It is still a great source of wonder to the locals here and even some of the younger local kids couldn’t understand ‘what’ they were doing and mostly ‘why’ were they doing it.

After cake and soda, the mandatory balls games began, a mix of football and volleyball and Rob even threw in a few taekwondo kicks that impressed the crowd. The boys played on till after dark. When they finally came inside we gave them their one and only Christmas present that had been posted from Mormor (my mum). Since we normally celebrate Christmas with Mormor on Christmas Eve, they figured they could get their present from her on Christmas Eve. Now the three are all wearing matching Italian Soccer jersey’s (from Italy).

So today, Christmas Day, we had an early start (not due to presents to open, as there were none) because Rob and I had committed to going to church at the cathedral at 8am. We got a wake up call from Australia t 7:40am from Rob’s sister, Ruth, so after chats all round Rob and I headed to church. It was packed and Rob and I squeezed in the back row and waited for the service to start. Poor Rob didn’t understand much but I at least got the gist of what was going on...until the sermon. We decided we couldn’t last the whole service and planned our exit after giving our offertory (which was at the 2 hour mark!!! We took a side exit out instead of returning to our seats). Before our exit however Rob and I were given the opportunity to farewell the congregation. I had prepared a farewell for next week, which Imaini had corrected my grammar but now I had to do it off the cuff. I know the Swahili wasn’t perfect but they got the message and I think appreciated the effort.

After church it was time to go home and prepare the Christmas lunch. Roast goat, baked potatoes, carrots, peas and mahindi . The goat was a success, Jake and Mitchell said it was 'sensational'. If I didn't know it was goat I could have thought it was lamb. To follow, the best present ever was Mitchell and Jake doing the washing up and me hearing the happy chatter from the kitchen while I enjoyed my post lunch coffee. I think it’s the first Christmas in a long time that I don't feel stuffed!!!

Roast Goat

Christmas Lunch

After some post meal down time, we went for a walk and give out the rest of the clothes I have been buying with the Sunday School money. It is after all Christmas!! It didn’t take long to draw a small crowd of followers. Even a few sneaking kids that got a shirt, then went quickly took off their jacket and tried to return for another.

Christmas Gifts for the local kids

It did mean I was able to give out some of the smaller dresses and shirts I had to kids who wouldn’t normally come visiting. It brought smiling faces and joy to many mums and a few cautious kids who wondered why these strange white people were approaching them with clothes. We walked home across the ridge and got a little wet when we were caught out in a passing shower.

All in all it’s been a lovely couple of days.

 

Time Difference

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much: it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.~

Franklin D. Roosevelt
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