December 25, 2010
Christmas morning in Lesotho is not unlike any other Lesotho morning. I suppose that later today, people will start heading off to church…no stockings, Christmas trees, wrapped presents. The children do speak, however, about Father Christmas; one of Ntate’s grandchildren even calls him Santa Claus. Most of Ntate’s extended family are doing well in life…therefore televisions and radios are part of their daily routines. Western influence is strong with the media, so they’ve heard all the traditional stories, and seen all the advertisements for gift giving… and, of course, gift receiving from Santa.
Yesterday Kimiko, a fellow volunteer, came to visit for the holiday. She played her violin for our littlest one, Teko. We also made Rusty’s version of S’mores with the grandchildren. (My version is simply Marie biscuits…a round kind of shortbread… with roasted flavored marshmallows…on top of a chocolate cooking wafer and sandwiched with another biscuit…no graham crackers here!) We used kiwi-flavored marshmallows! All had a fun and messy time.
Another fellow volunteer, Katie, will be visiting later today; I’ve planned a huge Italian feast for us; my friends are vegetarians so it will be a plain marinara sauce…Yum. Tomatoes are in season now…inexpensive and delicious, so it will be a true homemade sauce. Soon Ntate’s garden will be ready and I won’t have to buy any more tomatoes. For dessert we’ll have fruit, fruit and more fruit…it’s summertime here! I’ve also made lemon bars and apple scones in my makeshift oven, and Kimiko has brought some homemade Christmas cookies…she’s got a REAL oven at her place.
I am thinking of all of you today, hoping that everyone at home is happy and healthy. It’s good to remember Christmas the way it is in America…a time for family reuniting…and good to see it as it is in Lesotho…a time for desperately poor, but happy people to turn to their churches as their places of hope for the future. The Basotho never lose hope or their smiles, and that is what makes this Christmas wonderful.