baking marathon before the party…I baked, Anni sampled
Anni & I dressed for the party!
(I had that skirt & top made here by a local fundi)
Saturday was our sherehe ya Krismasi (Christmas Party) that our team planned together for our local friends here. We wanted to show hospitality and also share with them some our our cultural and why we celebrate Christmas. It was a ton of work but well worth it, especially to thank the friends we have made here that have been so generous in helping us learn the culture and language. After a long week and an even longer day Saturday we arrived home and just about collapsed but we so excited that we were able to show some friends here how much we appreciate their friendship, kindness, and generosity to us since arriving here.
We had the party outside and set up mats for our friends to sit on and chairs for the Wazee (older people) as respect in very important aspect of the culture here; the older people sit on chairs, eat first, etc. The whole planning process was difficult as we were constantly trying to negotiate the line between wanting to be culturally appropriate and respectful and also sharing our culture as well; it was tough!! Luckily, we had some local friends that speak English to ask the tough questions. In the end all we could do was pray that our intentions were seen even if we made cultural blunders. The only apparent flop we detected was after we had gone around with water and bowls to let everyone wash their hands and served the food we went around again with clean water to allow people to wash their hands again (my hands needed it) and we got a few weird looks so we quickly stopped. Not too bad for a bunch of Wazungus.
Jason was the MC for the event and did everything in Kiswahili (he prepared and wrote down some of what he wanted to say). I think he did great and our friends responded kindly as we were all trying our best to speak Kiswahili. I was in charge of kid’s games and taught the kids red light, green light and duck-duck-goose (only I called it kuku-kuku-jugo
(chicken chicken, rooster in Kiswahili). After a few rounds all the kids caught on (except Annikah who kept running toward me no matter if the light was green or red 🙂 I also came armed with stickers, bubbles, and candy which always makes for happy kiddies. Our team mate Alex also juggled and made balloon animals for the kids which was great! He is really good and rumor has it he even knows how to ride a unicycle (which unfortunately he does not have here…maybe next party).
After we all ate our team leader told a bit about why we celebrate Christmas, why we give gifts, and then we handed out small gifts to everyone (some local peanut brittle called kashata and candy wrapped in newspaper and tied with ribbon. We had tons of extra food so we sent everyone home with a bag-o-food to share with their family.
At the end of the night I was driving tons of people home (our 4, maybe 5 seater car at one point had 9 people in it) and when we finally had dropped off the last person Anni said “me no want to go home Mama, more party.” We, on the other hand were completely exhausted and quickly headed home for a much needed shower and some rest. It was a blessing to us to share Krismasi with local friends here, and although we desperately miss family and friends back home we will never forget celebrating Christmas this year.
We were so excited so many friends came!
Anni LOVES her friends here!
our attempt at decorating…hey we made do with what we had 🙂
the food spread……chapatis, sambusa, pilau, lots of baked goodies