Tuesday, December 21, 2010

compliments of the season!

Christmas snuck up on us again.  The kids had a great, hysterically funny nativity play at school before they were let out on their FOUR WEEK holiday.  If this seems excessive, for the families who live in the southern hemisphere it is the summer holiday for them and they are always crying for a longer break.  (Thankfully for us the school follows a N. hemisphere school calendar but I see their point for sure).

Two of our primary teachers took on the pagent project again this year....they did the normal christmas story (herod, wise men, baby jesus in the manger, etc.) but it played out as a news report with on the scene interviews with smartly dressed journalists interviewing period-dressed wisemen, shepards, travelling taxpayers and innkeepers.  Last year they worked ABBA in to the lineup, this year we had Leonard Cohen and Annie Lennox (all the little ballet girls dancing to 'talking to an angel')....the older kids did some singing and recorder performances and the little kids were left with all the "acting."  Finn was King Herod but only had a vague idea that he was actually a bad guy.  (above, about the cutest evil king ever.)   gotta love the costume sews from our old library curtains and the fabric the kids have for their curtains!)
Our funny little secular community school puts on the nativity every year -- a few of us always ask if it's appropriate and frankly there are only 3 of us who think the thing could be more culturally sensitive.  (what about Haunakkah? The New Year (Islam, the 7th this year), etc.) The Muslim moms we talk to find the whole thing incredibly entertaining and really aren't concerned. And so, the show goes on.  There is always mulled wine, mince pies and a cash bar.  it's funny that nary a school event passes without a fresh delivery of lager. Can you imagine a seattle public school having a  mandatory pagent performance with Annie Lennox and booze in the equation?  AND don't forget a visit or two from Santa, of course.  Our Santa usually is the newest male teacher, last year it was our Belgian PE teacher, this year our Zambian SEN teacher.  Santa collects presents (and many hugs) from the kids after the show and they get taken the next day to the UTH Cancer ward.  It's a good thing.

Christmas for us is a lot like it would be in Seattle...minus the weather and the many trips to target.  Cookie decorating parties, decorating the tree, making ornaments, friends and fun.  We really miss the family part of course.  and the Menashe Light Show spectacular.

and snowboarding.  not a whole lot of snowboarding going on here in Lusaka. Family album snaps of our preparations:

 Every year we take on an art project for our tree. It takes up a good chunk of that first week off school and involves lots of planning and working, measuring and math....and troubleshooting  We had a GIANT origami tree one year.  Then a 7ft tall, 6 piece, cardboard tree last year. This year we wanted something a little sturdier.  Particle board was all we can manage, maybe next year we'll find some plywood.  The kids cut this out with a little hack saw and a leatherman, drilled with a hand drill...not something I'd undertake with plywood.

 I bought a pile of BLING beads and they made many many many 'fancy' ornaments.
 FPFJ enjoying 'his side' of the cute bling-tree.  Every day there is something else hanging:  beads from mali (demarreur beads, perhaps not the most appropriate for a christmas tree!), mylar 'tinsel' and most recently a collection of small animals (gorilla, moose, cows, etc).

 The kids have been getting bits of a pay doctor kit every day (advent project, something new for their kit every day) and we also made kits to give to friends, complete with casts, slings, bandages, velcro wrist bands, pez 'medicine', felt 'blood' spots. we added and extra file folder with fake medical degrees, clinic posters (vintage malaria and polio posters) patient intake forms, x-rays, eye charts,  you name it, we found it or made it!!
 Many many many people made many many cookies today.  Funny that out of 8-10 dozen all the frosted ones disappeared in the course of the day.  They are so beautiful, how can you resist?  Wow, right?
All for now, can't wait to share photos from Christmas day!

MERRY CHRISTMAS...and Compliments of the Season!

(art photo from Todd, bonus points from Santy Claus if you can tell what it is...
 it's the array of lights at the Mulungushi Conference Centre....close up below)


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