We are back in Hong Kong now where the internet (along with practically everything else) moves very fast. I know Christmas is over, but I wanted to share some humorous, touching and unique moments from our African Christmas.
- It was a hard year to be traditional, but we did keep the Paine family tradition of baking a birthday cake for Jesus. Josiah loved this and it was yum!
- On Christmas Eve our outreach team hosted a party for the 250 kids at the Children's Home (orphanage). The party included the random addition of a live goat tied in the corner of the room (no explanation) and a massive mountain of cabbages in the middle of the room for the next day's feast.
- We put on a Christmas pageant in which I was Mary (balloon belly baby), Jason was Joseph and Josiah was "baby" Jesus. Many of the Iris kids know and love Josiah so it was a big hit!
- As the party progressed so did the chaos and sugar level, at which point we decided to have the traditional candle- lit "service". Uh- hum. We gave kids ages 3- 14 little candle stubs which turned into a game of blow it out and relight it. THEN the boys remembered the squirt guns they had received earlier that day, need I say more?!? Kids with fire were under tables, running, climbing, squirting. . . it was not a silent night. So "Joseph" took "baby Jesus" and fled to safety. . .whew!
- We got to watch the Iris kids open their gifts which was a huge joy.
- The next morning was Christmas. We had a fun breakfast of chocolate mango crepes and peppermint coffee after which we opened up a few gifts (wrapped in tin foil) the best being a massage Jason surprised me with. Glory!
- Church was packed, mostly with kids excited about Christmas "frago" (chicken). At one point someone opened the church gate during the service and 500 kids made a mad dash out the gate thinking it was time for frango.
- From 12- 6 we feed 4,000 people a meal of chicken, rice, salad and soda. Chicken is a real treat for the people in the village and an eagerly awaited day. It was very organized and an amazing system that Iris has fine- tuned. Jason and I helped with different jobs like monitoring lines, dying their thumbs (so they can't eat again), and entertaining kids waiting to eat. At one point I was collecting and washing plates and realized after picking up about 200 plates that I had not collected one chicken bone- they eat the bones!
- I probably said "Feliz Natal" 2,000 times on Christmas day to beautiful, greasy, full, smiling kids. We were really exhausted by the evening, but it was such a great memory from our last day in Mozambique.