Christmas - Ugandan style!
Posted by Uganda Action Team 2011-12 at 15:19 on 26th December 2011
Bagaliza Christmas Ennungi!
So a little birdie told us that it’s Christmas at the moment... We’re not quite sure if we believe it though as we’re sitting here in shorts and t-shirts, sunglasses and hats! Although the decorations in our house made it a little more believable and we had a Western style Christmas of our own on Christmas Eve.
Jem's homemade Christmas Tree complete with presents!
After spending the day at Pastor Abel’s, helping to prepare the chickens, peel matooke and chopping cabbage, we had Sarah and Rebecca (Pastor Abel’s daughters) and Blessing (their little cousin) round our house as we showed/taught them how to cook pancakes and Welsh cakes. We quickly ate all of the pancakes (omnomnomnomnom) and took the Welsh cakes to Pastor Abel’s for Christmas Day. We then had the evening free for our own little Christmas. Alice and James headed into Kinoni to get the Christmas dinner...maize corn and chips, whilst Ian and Jem finished off cooking the Welsh cakes and tidying the place up a bit. After our unusual Christmas dinner, we decided to crack on with some present opening :) We had done a ‘secret’ santa thing between us, so each person bought 1 big present for someone and little ones for the others, so that we all had something to open! We were also thrilled to have presents from the Benns, Vickers and Howells (BMS missionaries) and a few from people back home.
Us opening our presents - all very excited!
We then saw in Christmas Day playing Pictionary and feeling very British!
Following are games, we did actually get some sleep before waking up to a beautiful sunny Christmas Day, unfortunately without snow (we were always hopeful!). We had an amazing breakfast of multipack cereals – shreddies, golden nuggets and cheerios – which was an extra special treat considering cereals are about £5 a box here! Alice then skipped off to help finish Christmas dinner preparations with Mama Harriet while the rest of us washed (James and Jem did anyway!), cleaned the house, made Christmas cards and had the house invaded by some children who we gave biscuits to and then sent away, so we could head off to church.
Mama Harriet about to roast some potatoes!
After a delayed start to the service, because of people finishing dinner preparations, it proceeded pretty much as normal and we don’t think they sung any Christmas carols, although the Luganda songs could have been anything! We were, of course, made to do a ‘special’ for the church so sung ‘See him lying on a bed of straw’ (a.k.a Calypso Carol) which was fine, apart from that Ian and Alice didn’t know the words and we’d had to make a few lines up the night before when practicing!
Practicing our song for the special, Christmas hats and all!
After church, we headed home, picked up the crate of sodas (fizzy drinks in 300ml glass bottles), welsh cakes, cards and presents for Pastor Abel and family and went over to theirs. There were 18 of us in total (we think!) including 7 of the Abel family, 4 of us and a few other family and friends! We were served an amazing selection of food: chicken, beef, cabbage, roast potatoes, spaghetti, rice, matooke, fish in g-nuts and intestines, either from a cow or a chicken, we’re not entirely sure! Desert consisted of our welsh cakes, which went very quickly, as well as chocolate cake and carrot cake (Mama Harriet decided to have a go at making it after we mentioned it in a random conversation!).
Pastor Abel and Mama Harriet with their sweets and looking as happy as the name on the packet!
We then gave the family a little present, just of some sweets and were surprised (and humbled) by how thrilled everyone was, but then again they don’t really give out Christmas presents here. James and Ian then slyly whacked out a couple of party poppers, which scared a few of the people, especially Rebecca, Pastor Abel’s eldest daughter, as well as making 3-year-old Sam cry! They relaxed a bit when we gave out the party poppers and everyone had a few to pop. Then, being such boys, Ian and James started throwing the used party poppers about, resulting in a full on war between them and everyone else, which even Pastor Abel and Mama Harriet joined in with. After making a mess of the sitting room, we all moved outside to relax and spent the rest of the afternoon chatting and throwing a few more party poppers at each other!
Looks like Joshua got a good shot at Ian with the party poppers!
We went back home around 7pm with Isaac, Sarah and Joshua (three of Pastor Abel’s children) and they stayed for a bit and chatted. Then James got out the fake snow spray that he had got for Christmas and we started spraying it at each other and around the house, causing much hilarity and chaos! We then decided (with about half the can left) to go back over to Pastor Abel’s and spray the rest of the family with it. So, clad with fake snow beards, we headed round and, as Mama Harriet came in to have a closer look, James got the can out from behind his back and sprayed it all over her! Next target...Pastor Abel. He was in bed at the time, so Mama Harriet called him out whilst Ian stood out of sight beside the door. Then James said, ‘Pastor, there’s been a miracle...’ at which point Ian jumped out and sprayed him in the face shouting ‘SNOWWWWW!!!’. They all saw the funny side and we had a great time messing about!
Snow beards on Ian, James, Sarah and Joshua and Mama Harriet covered in fake snow spray!
So the festivities are over now and we are relaxing at Deb and Dug’s before an early start tomorrow as we set off for Kenya with them and the Vickers. We would all like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has sent us cards and presents for Christmas. They have been such an encouragement and it has been lovely to receive things that make it feel a bit more like Christmas and let us know that people still remember us!
We thought we'd add some fun to your day - Mama Harriet's goat seems to know what will happen to it one day!
We hope all your Christmas’ have been as amazing as ours and we wish you all a very Happy New Year!
God Bless and lots of love,
Jem, Ian, Alice and James
The Festive Uganda Action Team