Winter Wonderland

Tanzaniana do not understand the meaning of “Winter Wonderland” or “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” or any of those familiar Christmas tunes that talk about cold and snow. During the rainy season here in Mwanza people bundle up and shiver as the mercury dips to 70 -72 degrees on some days.
I was trying to address some Christmas cards earlier this week and was finding it difficult to do as I sat at the table with the fan blowing to keep me cool. Tim went to the storage container and was able to locate our Christmas CD’s. After playing some Christmas music for a while it was easier to address those Christmas cards.
Here in Tanzania, you don’t hear Christmas music, there are no Christmas decorations to be seen around town or in homes, no Christmas commercials or Christmas programs; in fact, you could easily miss this holiday completely if you did not know about it. And, since we are eight hours ahead of the states, we are not able to watch Christmas Day sports or parades until the following day.
The only thing that sets Christmas Day apart from the others is that most churches have a service on Christmas Day; again, no decorations, gift giving or Christmas hymns, just the simple story of Jesus born to save mankind and greetings of “Krismasi Njema” (Merry Christmas). It is strictly and simply the celebration of the coming of the Son of God, Jesus.
I must confess, however, that in our home there will be a Christmas tree, some special decorations (all brought from the states in our container) and a Christmas dinner that is as close to traditional as we can make it. You do have to be creative since some ingredients are not available. For instance, butternut squash makes a great substitute for pumpkin. You can also buy a turkey for about $75 or a small ham for about $50. And, believe me, they are not “name brand” quality but definitely of the generic variety.
This year’s special Christmas treat will be having our daughters, Jenn and Sarah, with us for Christmas. Now that gets me in the Christmas spirit!
Krismasi Njema!

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