Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Visitors

What a joy it has been for us to have visitors from Canada over Christmas.  My second cousin Donald and his family arrived from Calgary on Dec. 18th.  When they left  the temperature was -32 C and they're now baking in +32 C degree temperatures. 

 Quite a shock to the system especially as Don and the boys have been working outside putting up gutters.  It's perhaps the first time I've ever seen these guys slow down.

  As well as meeting and greeting lots of folks we've enjoyed showing them around New Hope and taking them out to the village to visit our sponsor child and his family.

  I loved their ingenuity as they made a basketball hoop out of an old bicycle tire for Sam and his family to play with.  They've also enjoyed taking on some of the kids here in some friendly basketball games.

We put the boys to work peeling matoke for a special meal with our family group.

Don and Joanne have enjoyed having their coffee outside in our tropical garden.  Note the Tim Horton's coffee mug bought at our local market in Kiwoko.

 Christmas Day they joined in our colourful church service complete with our own little Rudolph and beautifully colourful gomesis.
It has truly been a fabulous gift to have them with us.


Monday, December 9, 2013

"There were shepherds ..."

One of the interesting features of living cross-culturally is discovering just how much we all have in common.  Over the years I've been involved in various places in presenting the story of Jesus' birth.  It always includes a certain degree of typecasting.  The sweet little girls are the angels, and the rambunctious boys end up as shepherds or sheep.  I was amused as I practised with the children in our Sunday School that things aren't any different here.

 Yesterday we presented our scripture readings to the rest of the children spread out over the grass and heard again the chorus of angels crying, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests."   I loved the fact that the angels were wrapped up in a mosquito net, that the prophets wore the traditional kanzu, and that our angel Gabriel was resplendent in brightly coloured woven cloth.  The message however, crosses all cultures. "Today in the town of David, a saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."

Monday, December 2, 2013

"Really White"

A week or so ago we attended another wedding; this time for the sister of the boy we sponsor at New Hope.  The family is Rwandan and so the cultural traditions were again different from anything we had experienced before.  We travelled to Ngoma about 60 km away to attend the ceremony with some other friends from New Hope. 

The wedding was delayed so to pass the time we wandered through town creating the usual stir as mothers hustled their children out to see the 'Mzungu.'  We also toured a milk storage facility where milk from local farms is stored in refrigerated tanks before being taken to Kampala for processing.  The lab technician gave us a full run down on the tests she carries out to detect watered down milk, etc.  This particular area is known for its cattle and wealth is measured in the size of ones herd.

By 2:30 the wedding finally got underway and we settled into our plastic chairs to observe the proceedings. One of our friends was called on to translate since there were 'white' people at the event.  In fact the crowd was told not once, not twice but three times that these people "really were white.  They had not made themselves white." The wedding ceremony itself was held up at one juncture while paper work was hunted down but eventually the deed was done and the bride and groom exited the church.

 We were thankful for our friends who explained many of the puzzling customs of the day and graciously put up with all the attention we generated. 

 We stayed at the reception long enough to enjoy a plate of delicious Rwandan food.

Then we made a get-away before David got caught up in the embarrassing position of not having a cow to offer to the couple.  Guess the nice blue towels weren't exactly the right gift for this occasion.