Friday, December 26, 2008

#8 Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!

Ah, my first Christmas in the Developing World

It’s been different than I ever expected, far more calm and sane than I thought it would be. It did not even feel like Christmas at first. There are some lights up here and there...we even have a Christmas tree in our house here in El Sauce, but something was missing…maybe it is the 80 degree afternoons, or the lack of consumerism…

Our Christmas Tree…and my roomies

The Sunday before Christmas we had a big party at the Jungle School, put on by a local Catholic group. It was really great…presents, sandwiches and sodas and cookies, and 2 pinatas! They taught the kids songs and dances to go with them, which the kids sang for the rest of the week.

Kids and Adults Dancing

Kids at the Pinatas

Dave Ashby, HHK founder, at the Pinata

Kids with Presents

I appreciated the work done by this group, especially in comparison to another—Evangelical Christian—group that came the week before. They had stopped in just briefly, given cheap plastic gifts that were often not age appropriate, and there had been no food but lots of prayer, laying on of hands, and Jesus-talk. That group barely interacted with the kids and then they were gone.

What does surprise me about both groups is that the presents they gave were very impractical. Toys are fun, don’t get me wrong, but these kids need so much more. They each got a sock full of candy from one group…one sock…why not make it a pair of socks? Given that the kids are registered with the school, we really need to be collecting the information about each child that would allow and encourage the groups to purchase clothes, shoes, and age appropriate educational toys. We all know Christmas is coming once the calendar says “Octubre”…maybe the older kids could each take on the responsibility of putting together the information for their families. Just a thought…

But back to my own Christmas. Things did start to feel like Christmas when I went to a party at David’s Great Aunt’s house. We ate dinner and listened to a local musician who was coming around the houses and playing a few songs at each one for a few lempiras or a plate of food or a beer. Apparently he is quite famous around La Ceiba and is known as “El Canario.” They were traditional Ceibena songs…beautiful…I could have listened all night but we returned to the Aguero’s house, where we at Midnight we ate a small meal and wished each other “Feliz Navidad.” The next day was calm, full of relaxation, and Honduran tamales (sweeter and cooked in banana leaves rather than corn husks.) Tamales and fireworks, that’s what Christmas is about here it seems…I’ll be glad when our neighbors here in El Sauce run out of fireworks and stop firing them off in the front yard. Tamales, fireworks, and—now that I’m here—baked goods…I’ve made brownies and cookies over the last couple of days. I used too much water in the cookie recipe, and the eggs are small so I had to use two, so I guess I actually made brownies and a cookie cake.

Tomorrow I am off to Copan for a few days to learn more about the Mayans and see a bit of Western Honduras…

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