Friday, December 23, 2011

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas...

Actually it's not really…mostly because there isn't snow on the ground and it's about 78 degrees outside with no chance of it getting any colder.  So no White Christmas again for me. It also doesn't really feel like Christmas because Batswana just don't celebrate it like we Americans do. Their traditions for Christmas mostly revolve around going to Church or getting together with the family to eat a lot of food and drink. They don't give gifts to each other and they don't decorate. It was actually really funny when I tried to explain to some of the nurses who Santa Claus was. They had never heard of him before and were looking at me like I was crazy when I told them that in America most kids believe Santa Claus brings them gifts for Christmas if they have been good throughout the year. I stopped there because I figured telling them about Rudolph, the elves who make the toys, and the North Pole was too much craziness for them to handle. Although when I told them that the belief in Santa Claus stems from St. Nicolas they were a little more understanding.

Just like last year, it's hard to be away from the family during the holidays. I miss all of my family traditions and I get a little homesick. I am planning on getting together with some other volunteers for Christmas so hopefully that will keep me from getting too sad that I am not with my family.

I have done a few things to try to get myself into the Christmas spirit though. A few weeks ago I put up some decorations around my house and have been watching different Christmas movies.

Stocking that was sent to me last year by my friend Lindsay. 

Left over by the previous Volunteer

During the Christmas Season my Mom bakes a huge assortment of delicious cookies. I was missing that a little bit so earlier this week I made some brownies and put Christmas M&Ms in them that my Aunt Jana had sent me. Although it's not the same as making cookies with my Mom, they definitely turned out tasting pretty good!

mmmmm nom nom nom

To spread some Christmas Cheer I gave some candy canes to the family on my compound and to all the clinic staff members. They all really enjoyed this. 

Every year us "kids" and the pets take a picture in front of the tree. Last year my family improvised so that they could include me.

This year I decided I would take my own picture in front of my little tree with Dijo.

He wouldn't look and the camera :(

Kisses for Dijo :)
A few weeks ago I was talking to my counterpart, Interview (that's his name hehe), and he was talking about this candy he had tried from America that was really good. He couldn't remember the name and from his description I really couldn't understand what he was talking about. Later that day he remembered that it was a "Butterfinger"! In the Christmas package I had received from my family my Mom had put some fun size candy bars in it. When I saw there were some butterfingers, I immediately decided I had to wrap one up and give it to Interview for Christmas! Since Batswana don't really give gifts Interview was very thankful and excited to get something, even if it was something small. That is one thing that is nice about how Batswana celebrate Christmas. Because there isn't as much of a focus on the gift giving and trees and decorations, it reminds me to focus more on what Christmas is really about. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays for those who don't celebrate Christmas) and maybe we can all learn a little bit from the citizens of Botswana and step back from all the craziness of the presents and decorations and remember what Christmas is truly all about!

"An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them. "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord…."
Luke 2:9-11 NIV

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