Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Belated Christmas Post
I wrote this on December 27th when I went to the mission to update this blog but then realized that everyone had gone to Freetown and there was no internet. So it’s a little late, but better late than never I guess.
A belated Merry Christmas to you all! I hope that this holiday season has been filled with fellowship, festivities and of course delicious food. What I would give for some cabbage rolls, Grandma Ellie’s corn and of course those chocolate covered peanut butter bits of heaven called buckeyes. Earlier this week my friends and I listed all of the holiday foods that we were craving, which I realize now in retrospect was slightly masochistic since none of those things are available here. Oh well, there will be plenty of Christmases when I get back to indulge in all of those holiday treats. Christmas in Salone was different, but still a lot of fun. We are currently in the throes of ‘festive season’ as they call it here, the time right before Christmas until New Years. This means that almost every day there are football matches, dances or ‘outings’ which is like a picnic with a DJ. On Christmas Eve, one of my PCV friends came to Kamabai and we went out clubbing in Makeni, ya know because that’s a normal thing to do to get a person in the holiday spirit J
On Christmas morning we went to church and it was so awesome to see everyone all decked out in their Africana dress and fancy hairstyles. Even the little kids were bluffing (showing off) with their twenty five hair clips covering their entire head and painted finger nails. After church I showed Cat around Kamabai, we got some food and then took a nap before we went to the football game. For Christmas dinner we had acheke which is a delicious medley of gari (ground cassava root), macaroni, gravy, onion, egg, potato, meat, mayonnaise, and ketchup. Acheke is different every time you get it. It can also include beans, cucumber, cabbage, lettuce, spam, or if you want the expensive kind, even chicken. The acheke lady in my town has a habit of not ever being at the table to sell the acheke so I’ve gotten used to just making it for myself and leaving the money for her. So if the whole going to grad school thing after PC doesn’t work out, there is always the option of opening up an acheke business. Also I realize that acheke might sound like a ridiculous combination of ingredients, but take my word for it, whoever created this culinary phenomenon is a genius, the stuff is really good. Anyways, the rest of the day was pretty chill, we hung out, read some People magazines (thanks Mrs. Cormier!) and just talked. A lot of our PC experience is pretty individual so when we do get the chance to meet up with other PCVs it is nice to just hash out some of the things that we’re all going through, and of course to share funny stories about cultural misunderstandings. There was a really big Christmas dance that night, but we didn’t make it because we were tired and both having some stomach problems. We had just gotten back from Bo, and it’s pretty normal that anytime we travel and eat food at a different place, there are going to be some digestive issues. That has gotten a lot better since we first arrived, but I don’t think we’ll ever be fully adjusted to the food here.
So, on the whole Christmas was great. I am happy I chose to spend it in my community because Kamabai is my home in Salone and the place where I feel the closest connection to people. Yes, I admit it wasn’t a traditional Christmas, but it was still fun, shared with people that I love and at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter about the specifics of how you spend Christmas. What really matters is the presence of the Christmas spirit, rejoicing in the coming of Christ, being thankful for all of the opportunities and gifts He has bestowed on you, and wanting to share those opportunities and gifts with others. As long as that underlying spirit is there, it doesn’t matter your geographic location, because Christ is everywhere and in everyone. I love and miss you all and wish you a happy holiday season!