Saturday, January 3, 2015

Christmas Blessings Burundi Style

With the palm trees swaying and the grass so green, it took a while to feel like it was Christmas time.
Christmas Parties and celebrations were helpful, but the real trick was recording Christmas Carols with our family on Whats App!  We did Silent Night in five languages from across the world.  It was so fun to hear the singing voices of our adorable grandchildren. Christmas is family-- thankfully Family is Forever!

 Christmas Day the Neeleys hosted all of the missionaries at their home for dinner, food and games.  Our old favorite paper bat game crossed all of the language barriers and made a hit.  The Foofoo made a particular hit with the Elders!  They stayed true to Congolese tradition which says the guests take home the leftovers.  Foofoo is just casava and corn flour mixed in boiling water to make a dough.  They form it into balls and eat it with or without sauce.  We enjoyed the rice and green beans and beautiful rolls (Sister Neeley is a pro).

 Branch One had their Christmas Party on Saturday after Christmas.  President Thomas and his wife were here by then and enjoyed their lovely buffet.  It was a special day for children, so they were asked to sit together in their little chairs under the tree and wait for the food to be served to them.  We marveled at how they just sat and waited so patiently -- not leaving their seats, or even squirming and making noise.
 Clean up was simple (not as simple as paper plates) but a few buckets of water, some Relief Society Sisters and a tap in the yard.  Who needs a kitchen with 4 sinks and all the fluff we have?

 One day we treated ourselves to a hamburger at the Roca.  This is the spread we got!  The four small bowls in front have bacon, cheese, carmelized onions and dill pickles.  This is a burger that would make In and Out jealous!

 Frida finished her Thesis and received her graduation certificate.  We were invited to the festivities.  Seems like Frida and Aimable have broken us in on many of the Africa Traditions.  This one was also followed up with Soda for everyone.  We don't do so well with Soda, but they also make water available. Whew!

 A Real White Christmas is a baptism.  This one was very special as Salvator has waited for four years for his wife Mwamini to accept the gospel.  It was a very happy day for them.

 I just love this photo of Elder Van singing as he plays for the music at the baptism.  He is still enthusiasm personified.  He sings in English while everyone else sings in French.  No one can even hear him which tells you that these people SING!

                           Dolly Project

You just gotta LOVE this little face.  His mommy was sewing and he was pushing chairs around or trying to entertain himself.  Here he is on her back and we were preparing to take photos of each woman with the dolls they made.  

The Project was a big success, but with a few twists I didn't expect.

The plan was to make 50 dolls, teaching women to sew and to give the dolls to children at orphanages.  My vision was that they would be so happy and excited.  As it turned out, the children at the orphanages were not very excited, and the people who ran the facility really only wanted food to feed the children.  So we gave rice, sugar, juice and cookies along with Dollies.  

 50 dolls became 85!  So we gave them to children in the Branches.  Now THEY were excited!  They loved them.  I loved that the Sister missionaries came down and helped me paint faces more than once!  It made the painting simple and they did a very nice job.  No dolly came out with a funny face!


These are the ten I made for examples of different styles. 

 Oh yes, did I mention that along with the rice and dollies we gave the kids a chance to dance the Chicken Dance and Hokey Pokey.  They liked that better than dolls.  We sure do LOVE that JBL speaker!  We take the ipod and the JBL and we are in business!

 This is what 50 dolls looks like.  I didn't get a photo of all 85, but this is a lot of Dollies!
 One of the two orphanages had little ones, some had been found in dumpsters.  Beautiful babies with parents who couldn't care for them.  These people are doing a good work in their behalf.

 Lawn mowing at the park.  These workers knew David wanted a picture of all of them working together, so they purposely stopped one at a time until he gave them 1000 bif (about $3.00) Then they picked up their tools and made the grass fly!

 The mosque at the end of the street, all white and sunlit was a stark contrast to the trucks and traffic.

 These Mango Vendors didn't know we got a bird's eye view of them selling their wares.

 Common scenes here are still new to us.  We frequently see a pickup filled with people!  And I do mean filled.  I always remember how I made my kids sit with their little bottoms right on the bed of the truck.  And I ask, "Where are their mothers?"

 These two are reminiscent of the pictures of David wanting to stand and let the cows go around him.  Remember that one?  We did it with the goats.  We had just stepped out of the Roca Golf Hotel and these goats were coming down the street.  We just stood there as they approached. They hardly noticed us as they parted around us and then came back together on the other side.

Yes, Christmas comes without the cold and snow

 and Family is Family near or far. 


1 comment:

Thanks for checking up on us. We would love to hear from you. The Vans