Sunday, January 18, 2009

Before I move on, I need to go back to the previous posting. I never explained the Christmas Goat from the title. And, I never gave a shout out to thank Chauncy for making it possible for everyone to have a coffee/tea cup. When I moved here I was hanging some shelves – a bigger process here than it is where I’m from in the states. The walls are cement block. My tools are limited. So, it was easier to try to hang the shelves from the ceiling – and it worked fine. As long as the weight is limited, that is. So – shortly after moving here, the few coffee/tea cups and other glasses became reduced in number to a couple of each (this was how I learned about limiting the weight and about the wisdom of not putting breakables on shelves hanging from the ceiling - or under those shelves, either). That’s fine when you’re alone, but not so convenient when you have a few guests. A few months after I arrived, I got a nice package with some tea/coffee glasses – like nice-sized juice glasses, but with rubber grippers included so hot drinks can also go inside. Perfect for 3 french
visitors, one Liberian, and the American host to have their tea and coffee – and later they doubled as wine glasses. And they’ve also been known to host wee drams of scotch from time to time. Thanks again Chauncy – you helped me pull off being a not-so-bad Christmas host.

Also – thanks to Rose for the Christmas decorations, which are still taped to the door, walls and hanging from the ceiling – many at knock-your-eye-out level.

And the Christmas Goat - - - I was lucky to catch my parents and brother and sisters on the phone at different points during Christmas day. My brother Dean was one of the last ones – and his first question was, “What’d you have for dinner? Goat?” And I stopped, and thought, “my goodness, yes, it was goat – and it was delicious.” We ended up having more mouth-watering goat throughout the festivities in the week ahead – and every time it was delicious – none of that usual rubber/leather combination that meat often tends to come in here (which has led me to explore the yumminess of fish more than I had in the past). This was melt in my mouth nice. This was not even thinking about it being goat nice – even though I saw the aftermath of the slaughter when we returned from the morning Christmas mass.

And now – onto the next day of Christmas. This posting is only about the 26th of December, because it is completely impossible to narrow the pictures down any further. (I think it was better for me before digital cameras – I had to be sure each picture was reasonably nice and a keeper each time I took one. Now, I can take something like 10 million pictures, and then face 10 million hours of narrowing down and weeding out. Ah well, I’m not really complaining. By the way, thanks again for the camera Mom, Dad, Rose, Aunt – after 3 or 4 years it’s still going strong.)

So – the highlight of Dec. 26 was the enactment of the Nativity. A pure celebration of Jesus’ birth. Visitors from near and far came to witness the performance. I’ll just kind of label the pictures as the performance goes on:

Balloon, as the Angel Gabriel (he’s the one I wrote about shortly after I arrived here, before he got his wings)

Some of the younger, less mobile kids as sheep, waiting in the manger

King Herod and some of his Court

Golden Emmanuella – a part of the King’s Court – who’s birthday was celebrated on Christmas, the day before this performance. The Dutch family that has “adopted” her was here for the birthday and Christmas celebration.

Bright (from the Bright in Kumasi blog posting), as one of King Herod’s advisors

Ayuba (from the Monkey Business posting – and who only the night before made his appearance as Father Christmas) and Ntiamoah, as a couple of the shepherds

Koo Emma and Boadu, two more of the shepherd contingent

Mary and Joseph, played by Afia and Kofi Asare, who is also frequently seen during our parties as Coco-the-Clown and who is also our Music Master, drumming and singing for days without tiring

The 3 wise guys – Kwabena, Mabel, and Amma – and the star they followed, held in place by Philomena (one of the 2 kids that went to visit Stephen in the hospital)

The shepherds with their herd of goats and sheep – or is it a flock of goats and sheep?

Kwame, a former caregiver who left here a few months ago to attend University, returned for the holidays and was the MC for the enactment (as well as for all the other parties during the holiday). He was assisted by Patrick, another caregiver.

The manger – which doubles as a donkey cart for the other 364 days of the year – with baby Jesus, played by Kwaku Chairman

The caregivers and some of the kids praising and celebrating the birth of our Savior

Suddenly, Kwaku Chairman got restless – he had been practicing his part for at least 3 weeks and decided he needed to run around somewhere. Fortunately, his understudy, Kojo (one of the newest kids we have here, and he might actually be named Kwame - hmmm, I'm suddenly confused) was ready to step up to and get tucked into the manger

Holding Jesus up to the world – truly celebrating and rejoicing in His birth.

It was a festive, energy-filled celebration of the birth of Jesus. It wasn’t the calm, reflective portrayal we in the US normally have of the nativity. People were celebrating the birth of our Savior, holding Him up, announcing His arrival, shouting, throwing confetti. I love the calm, serene representation we have in the states, but this was exactly as it should have been – it was perfect for where we are and how we are at this moment.


At 2:45 AM, Blogger MJ said...

It really is interesting to see how they celebrated Christmas there and to see the wonderful costuming they had. It's quite a change from the more sedate colors and celebrations here, and like you said, perfect for the time and the place.

At 7:20 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Steve,
I like your site. Nice pictures.

Greetings Arie


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