Do They Know It's Christmas??

Trip Start Dec 12, 2008
Trip End Jan 08, 2009

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Flag of Tanzania  ,
Saturday, December 27, 2008

Happy belated Christmas (again) everyone!!
I hope you're all well, and that you've all had nice Christmases with lots of nice food and nice presents. I'll tell you about my Christmas in a tick, but first I think you all deserve an update on the orphanage situation..
As you know, the program was "closed", ie. Josephat said he didn't want any volunteers anymore. However, he's under a contract with the charity organisation Kidsworldwide, who arrange the volunteer programs, and cannot really just close the program down like that. Anyways, what happened in the end was that the other girls paid off the debts that he wanted us to pay. They took some money that they were supposed to pay towards building stuff and used it ofr the debts instead, since the debts were all for cement and things like that anyway. So at least that's all sorted out for now, and Josephat and the volunteer coordinator in Australia sorted things out as well, so the program is still on...

Hence, on Monday, we started preparing for the Christmas celebration at the orphanage. Sharon and I went with Consolata (one of the college girls), Mama Samueli (one of the cooks) and Chandi (don't really know what/who he is, but he does a lot of driving for Josephat) to the markets just outside town to get all the ingredients for the Christmas meal. (This was paid for by some of my fundraising money). Oh,and Josephat's little son, Timo also came with us, he's about a year and a half.. It took us ages, getting food for around 70 people does!! At the end of it, Sharon and I treated everyone for lunch at a pizza restaurant called Kuleana, where they had pizza / chips omelettes, and then ice cream for desert.. They loved it!! It's amazing how excited they get over things like that, something we in the Western world see as fairly normal.

Tuesday it was back to the orphanage to teach as usual, and also play with the kids.. I lent my mp3-player to one of "my" kids, a standard 6 girl called Helena. She loved it!! Soon all the kids wanted to listen to it, and were sat in the classroom diggin' to Aerosmith etc!! It was hilarious!! My camera is also extremely popular, they all want to take photos.. And I don't actually mind at all, it means I get photos that I otherwise would not be able to get, such as pictures from the boys' room when they are all chilling in there etc. It's cool! :)

Wednesday, eg. Christmas Eve, and my proper Christmas we didn't teach any classes. We just played with the kids and made Christmas decorations with them, which they loved. Oh, and Rosemary, Josephat's wife had a baby that day, a tiny little girl called Happy Celina. She's gorgeous! And has tiny little white hands and feet!! The kids were all extremely excited about her, understandably, it's their new little sister!
At lunch time we went back home to eat, and then we prepared ourselves for the evening/night, as we were staying over at the orphanage. We went back just in time for prayers before dinner. Although I'm not religious, I think it's extremely beautiful. They all close their eyes and sing, and then they pray, and sing again, and pray again and again... It amazing, because all I can understand of their prayers (they all say them out loud) are things like "Asante sana baba" (thank you Father) and "Baba yako" (Our Father).
For dinner it was rice and beans (again!) but this time with a tiny little piece of meat with it as well (I think they took that out of the Christmas food). It was good that they finally had some meat though, it's something which they normally only get for special occasions, and I presume this time it was due to the baby..

Staying the night at the orphanage was an experience.. I had two girls, Ode and Helena "arguing" about me sleeping in their beds... And they made me choose, which was mean!! In the end I chose Helena, as she is one of my favourites, and just so adorable and hard-working.. Ode was a bit sad about that though! Normally the girls share their beds between two, however, when volunteers come to stay it's always arranged so that one of the girls go and share with someone else.. Which is nice, because I don't think the bed would have managed three people in it!! In the end it turned out that I had made a wise choice when choosing Helena to sleep with, as she was the perfect little bed-hostess, even putting my sheet over me when I had it only over my waist (it was damn hot in there!). The three other girls didn't really get much sleep, but I, once I'd managed to fall asleep, slept all the way through to 6.20, when poor Helena had to get up to start working..  
The morning was spent helping out with the cooking, I was grating what seemed like millions of carrots, Sharon helped make a salad (they don't really know how to make one), and Tegan and Jill (being extremely brave) helped pluck the chickens.. (I'm glad I didn't though, I don't think I could have stomached it at all). For breakfast we had mandazi and ubersweet tea with milk. The mandazi were really good (pastry with cardemom boiled in oil), however, I could have done without the tea!! After breakfast we were expecting to go to church, but for some reason that never happened, so we just stayed and played with the kids and made more decorations and Christmas cards with them.. I got two cards from a little boy called Jamesi, he's the cheekiest bugger ever, but so adorable! He has the cutest smile as well... I also got one from another of my boys, Mwita, and from January.. They're so cute, and went so shy when they're giving me the cards.. :)
At about 2 an enormous Christmas lunch was ready.. We had chicken, meat, plain rice, pilau rice, beans, salad, a cabbage/carrot mix (really nice), cooked banana (the green ones), normal banana, and pineapple. All on one plate! They don't really do separate courses in this country, everything comes in one go! It was really nice, especially the pilau rice. Some of the food I gave away though, as I was soooo full..
After lunch we started sorting out the presents. The other girls had got schoolbags made for all of the kids, with things like rubbers, pencils and rulers in them. The boys also got a bracelet each, and the girls got a little necklace each.. They were all really happy, and seemed to like the presents. Another girl who volunteers there but who doesn't live in our house came with some sports equipment, footballs, a volleyball, frisbees and some skipping ropes, so we spent much of the afternoon playing with those things. Oh, and something I have to show you when I'm able to put up pictures and possibly videos (when I get home), is the boys' doing somersaults over a stick!! It was really cool!! By that time though we were all starting to get tired and sunburnt, so we just waited for everyone to get drinks, Coke or Fanta, and then we headed back home. I almost went straight to bed, I was that tired..

The next day we spent at the other volunteers' house, having our Christmas. The girls (and Alex) from the other house made all this really nice food, including an amazing banoffee pie!! (Thanks Emma!!)

So yeah, that's my update for now.. On Wednesday we're all heading out on a three day safari to the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro crater, which I'm really looking forward to!! And then I have Saturday at the orphanage, and then Sunday I'm off back home and that's the end of my African adventure! I'll see whether I'll get to a computer before I go home, although I doubt it.. I will write an update blog when I get back though!

Have a good day everyone!!

Lots of love!

Malin :)
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