Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Merry Little Christmas

I know, its a little late to ask, but how was your Christmas?  How did you celebrate?

I hope that you had the opportunity to be a blessing, as well as receive the love and joy of the season. Above all I pray that you were able to focus on Christ as the one true gift.

As you know, the big event of my trip to Zimbabwe was a Christmas party planned to bless the orphans as well as the their caregivers. Some of the caregivers are widows raising their children on their own. Some are widows raising other's children on their own. Some are siblings caring for their younger brothers and sisters.

Although the families and stories are all different, they have all experienced great loss, hardship, and make great sacrifices daily.

The hope of this party was to encourage these families. I can't help but feel like a hot meal and a new set of clothes is so miniscule compared to the hardships these children and caregivers face, but I also know that God can use the simple things to bring blessing.

We held the party on December 23rd, which was Christmas in my book.

I had bigger things on my mind than counting that day, but looking back at pictures, I believe we served about 30 orphans along with 10-15 widows. We were also able to set aside clothing and food supplies for about 8 children who were unable to attend the party due to visiting relatives in the city.

At the party we served a big hot meal. In Zimbabwe, as well as much of Africa, the staple food is simply corn meal mixed with water and then boiled. The end result is a playdough like consistency. In Zimbabwe this is called Sadza. It is filling, but does not have much flavor. It is usually served with some kind of relish or sauce, usually made with tomatoes and onions or greens. In Zimbabwe cooked pumpkin leaves is one of the favorite relishes.

When we went shopping for the meal, we chose dishes that were somewhat familiar but special and different from what is usually eaten on a daily basis. We had chicken and beef, which are usually only eaten on very special occassions, if at all. For some families these things are simply not affordable ever. Because we had to have lots of carbs to take place of the very filling sadza, we made rice and noodles. A LOT of rice and noodles. We also made a tomato sauce that is similar to what they usually eat with the sadza, as well as a cabbage and carrot salad. Oh, and I have to mention...for dessert....ICECREAM! This was super special.

This is my best Zimbabwe friend Melody helping me with the rice. She is all would love her.

Look at all that rice...and we're not done yet!

The day began with a prayer and time to fellowship, followed by the meal.

 I have to mention that Sadza and all that goes with it is eaten with the hands, so it was really sweet watching the kids trying to maneuver the utensils, especially with the noodles :)

After all the tummies were filled, we lined up the kids to hand out the clothing. All the boys recieved jeans, a shirt, and underwear, and all the girls recieved two outfits, underwear, and the older girls even got bras. (This was inspired by my friend Wendi. Read the bra story here.)

Yes, I know, that was a whole lot of cuteness right there.

After everyone was set with clothes, we had one more gift to give before the families returned home. Each family recieved enough mealie meal (corn-meal) for a month, as well as rice, which is a special treat. The next week I also delivered sugar, oil, peanut butter, and flour to several of the families who we determined to have the greatest need. 

Finally, our day ended just as it began; with a prayer of thanksgiving. 

For those of you who supported my trip through your gifts and prayers and encouragement, thank you so much for being part of the blessing for these families.

They asked me to thank you as well.

1 comment:

Cathrine said...

ahhh Becca this is so so so awesome. SO AWESOME. I'm totally coming with you next time.