Christmas Party & mince pies
Posted by Deb and Dug Benn at 14:12 on 17th December 2010
Christmas is almost upon us! In the busyness of life wherever we are it’s so easy to get bogged down with everything that needs to be done and forget why we’re doing it! We had been concerned that may be the case with the Christmas Party we were involved in. The planning had started before we arrived and yet when the day came we still felt unprepared! We had been told this was for 300 children, on the day 319 were registered but as we ran out of craft stuff we know there were over 350.
The day started slowly, we arrived at the site for 7.30 to find that the bursar whom the booking had been made with, hadn’t told the guard – and he wasn’t going to let anyone in the gates! The feeling of impotence was overwhelming, as members of the committee tried to contact the Bursar & the headteacher to no avail.
Then – we prayed and Chris said there was another gate he felt sure would be open, and it was. The guard became sympathetic to our position and didn’t prevent us using the second gate. We were in! Although we couldn’t get in to the hall, there was no power and the tents hadn’t arrived. However, over the next hour all these problems were solved – which of course gave us another problem – we were running over an hour late. Being very British, D & D started to fret but no one else seemed in the least bit fazed. The lively songs, simple craft & games activities went down very well, the food was brilliant and ample – for some who attended, the best meal they will have had all year.
Broken windows, metal poles sticking out of the ground, a wide ditch to be crossed all around the field – all typical of what we have seen on a Ugandan school site but not what we were used to in the UK (Deb would have served an emergency notice to close as an Ofsted Inspector). However, our prayers were definitely answered, not one child or adult was even slightly injured. Our (very glamorous) nurse had little to do apart from provide supervision for some of the youngest children who needed to sleep. The children all went home happy and the teachers and parents declared it extremely well organised. We went to bed exhausted but relieved!
We don’t envisage being involved in the same way in anything quite like that again. However, being so hands on this time was very helpful for our own understanding and also was great for getting to know lots of people. We hosted the ‘after party’ for the committee at our flat and along with the very popular pork chops introduced our friends to sage & onion stuffing – which went down very well. The mincepies went down even better!
It was a great concern when with Christmas fast approaching, we were unable to source mincemeat – there are rumours that others found it last year, but we haven’t been able to track it down. So a great recipe via facebook from the ever supportive Kat the IMC cook, coupled with being able to find some raisins and we made some! The smell of the spices was wonderful and our flat certainly smelled Christmassy. So the tradition of Deb making hundreds of mincepies was back in action, phew!
We had a ‘Love Feast’ (shared lunch) at Lugogo Baptist last Sunday. The meal was followed by an informal concert, there was some very enthusiastic singing and dancing from church members of all ages and backgrounds. Including us! Anyone who knows us will not be surprised to hear that we didn’t dance or that our unaccompanied song wasn’t that lively and had much more in common with English/American folk rather than African. However, although it was a bit quieter than the other ‘turns’ we were given such encouragement and support it (very nearly) made us forget just how nervous we were! It was good to be involved and it seemed people were genuinely pleased that we’d taken part.
This weekend we’re off to Bugiri – about 4 hours east of Kampala – at the invitation of the Baptist Pastor to see the children’s work that he’s leading there. We’re excited about this opportunity to get a bigger picture and also see more of life outside of Kampala.
Whether you’re travelling or staying at home this Christmas we pray it’ll be a time of blessing and joy with a focus on Emmanuel, God with us – that’s mission!