Christmas morning in Kenya started with my favorite meal of the day aka Breakfast! Breakfast was comprised of Christmas bacon and eggs as well as Christmas Mangos. Nairobi Chapel’s joint Christmas service started at 10:30 with Christmas carols to open and a message about the meaning of Christmas. The afternoon finished with a Christmas lunch at our sight coordinator’s house.
In many ways this meal was similar to what you might have in the United States on Christmas with a little twist. I had turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, salad, spiced rice, beef ribs, macaroni and cheese, christmas cookies, carrot cake, apple pie, and red velvet cake. The best part of it was sharing the meal with my group of YAVs as well as Bob and Kristi Rice (Presbyterian Mission Co-workers). I definitely ate too much and we stayed well into the afternoon.
The day ended with and exchange of gifts. Us YAVs had done Secret Santa and after we finished eating Christmas lunch/dinner we gave our gifts to one another. It was great to have everyone there and take a picture in front of the Christmas tree. And just as I thought that the night couldn’t get better, Phyllis sent us home with left over cookies and cake!
Although it was nice being with the other YAVs, Phyllis’s family, and friends, there were still things that I missed having this year. One of the major differences with having Christmas in the southern hemisphere is that the weather is hot and sunny. It seemed vary strange to have a warm and bright weather on Christmas when you are use to having cooler temperatures.
Another part of Christmas that I missed this year is the public expression. While people in Kenya may celebrate Christmas to a larger extent in their own homes, you don’t tend to see many public expressions of Christmas decorations as you drive around the city. The exceptions are mostly the Malls where there are lights strung up and Christmas trees. Most of the houses in Kenya have protective wall with a gate at the front, which don’t allow you to see inside. But even the apartments that have balconies or the windows looking out to the road don’t have any lights or Christmas decorations hanging in or around them. This provides for a very different environment in which to have Christmas.
This has led me to ponder if we YAVs are part of very few people how really like to celebrate Christmas both publically and privately. However, this is truly false because everyone I spoke with ask me if I had had a nice Christmas. I even received calls from people from my office that wanted to tell me Merry Christmas and ask how my Christmas has gone.
In conclusion I want to send some shout outs to the world best parents Ruth & Hunter, Ndaya, Andrew, Lloyd-Sidles, Brand Clan, Kaku & Grand Paw Max, Jess & Derek, Doug & Christina, Beth, Meredith, Wesley, Paw Paw & June, The Farrell’s, The Irby’s, Crescent Hill Pres, The Welches, Bethany, and Chela.