Merry Christmas to all of my SP friends!
A friend asked me what Christmas is like in Tanzania. There is not a big commercial build up of Christmas here. The custom for gift-giving is not the same at all. Families that can afford to buy clothing will buy a set of clothing for their children, so you will see most children walking around on Christmas day showing off their new clothing. It is a big deal to them to have new clothing, since it may be the only set of new clothes they get for the year.
Toys are not a big deal here. You may see a homemade toy like the one in the photo. To get a ball or balloon is a big gift to them. They may get a used stuffed animal, but you can see that children are not used to toys like in the USA.
The family goes to church on Christmas morning and usually gets home from the service at lunch time. The mom makes a dish of ugali (corn mush) or rice and if they have the money they will have meat of some sort- usually chicken or fish. Meat is a luxury here. Most families have meat one or two days each month. The protien is from milk, eggs, and beans.
It took some getting used to the low key Christmas in Africa. Don and I have only celebrated one Christmas in the USA- the rest being here in Tanzania. We have inherited a really good Target Christmas tree and I have collected lots of ornaments over the years. I turn into a kid during Christmas, but it is still very simple. We are planning on having our Christmas dinner shared with another family. We don't spend lots of money or go into debt during Christmas. I do have a collection of Christmas movies that I watch and share with other missionaries. I also play our Christmas CD collection, until Don goes nuts.
The weather here in December is very hot during the day. It is something like New Orleans in the summer. It will get very hot and muggy and then rain will come and cool it off some. If it stays dry the dust kicks up and you have to keep the windows closed to keep the dust out.
Our electric company sometimes has to ration out the power because of the demand. They will cut power 2 days per week if there is not enough rain. We have a gas stove and are really happy about that choice, we just wish we had a propane refrigerator too.
Christmas is quiet. There are no malls blaring muzik or non stop commercials forthings to buy. There are only a few events locally that even remind you that it is December. Carols by Candle Light was last night. We sat on Masaai blankets with a candle and mince pies as a really cute Childrens Choir led us in Christmas music. There is usually one other event at the comminity church, and that is it.
I want to wish all of our friends and family a Merry Christmas. May you celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus- Emmanuel- God with us. He came to earth to set us free from the bondage to sin. We are now free to serve Him forever. I thank God for the Gift of Christ. I thank God for salvation.