Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011 at Children of Zion Village

Christmas was a joyful day of celebrating the most Holy Birth – Jesus Christ.

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”  Luke 2: 11-14 

It was an early start to the day to get the puppies fed, children ready and cooking done for breakfast.  I made a casserole and fresh warm biscuits and also had juice for all of us for breakfast. We ate at the children’s home.

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After breakfast was Christmas songs and our Christmas church service celebration. 

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After church it was back to the house to cook some more.  We had all of the children and volunteers for lunch at our house.  What did we have you ask?  It is what we have a lot in Africa:  chicken, rice, gravy and gem squash.  For desert, Margaret made a yummy lemon pie.  The boys enjoyed the food and we enjoyed taking pictures of the girls (and puppies too!)  :)  Too cute!


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And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6b

AMEN.  Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve Boat Ride

It has been a hot week in Africa.  On Christmas Eve we fired up the boat and took it for a ride around the island that is right across from our house.  We can still see the island since the river is not yet flooding. All the children that are still here in the village went except for the baby girls. 

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It ended up being a mini safari.  We saw Hippos, a crocodile, fish eagles and monkeys. 

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African Wedding

Well, we have been to many funerals in Africa but we had never been to a wedding.  So, on Dec 20 we managed to get a wedding invite.  Now, there are several phases to a wedding in Africa.  I do not understand all of them.  So, let me see if I can tell you a few things and hopefully it is accurate information. 

At first the elders meet from both sides.  The bride to be comes but is not allowed out of the car until the groom pays.  It can be any fee that is ask.  It might be N$10, N$50, N$100 or even cattle.  Once this payment is made she can come out.  This is called a “kitchen party”.  They eat, set a wedding date and give advise. 

The next can be 3, 2 or one phase.  If it is 3, the first is eating and giving advise.  The next is the wedding and it would be in a church followed by food.  They have a line of cars driving all around town with balloons and honking horns.  Many are in the backs of pickups so you can see what colors they are wearing.  We have seen bright pink and white (for both the men and women), purple and black, red, white and black (this one was one Christmas eve day) and turquoise and black.  The men’s shirts will be whatever bright color the sashes for the ladies dresses are. 

Day three is the traditional African day.  They celebrate in the village with more advise, more food and dancing.  This is the day that we attended.  To get to the village, we walked across the bush, then rode in the macolo (dug out canoe) and walked some more. I wore the traditional skirt and head wrap and, well, men can wear whatever. 

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We sat under tents with the ladies in the back sitting on the ground on mats and the men in front in chairs!!

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Dancing with the ladies and baby Lorna.      The bride and groom with Uncle Leonard.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas giving in the Villages

We took our boys to 4 villages to give the gift of traditional Mealie Meal (pap).  We are living on the land that is owned by the village and the old Induna (chiefs) appreciate the relationship of knowing what is going on here and knowing the children.  They are also involved in instructing the children in the African way (one that we are still learning each day).  We try to pay our respect by working with them, learning from them and helping them when we are able.  At this Christmas time, this was a small gift of appreciation for their acceptance and friendship.

And, we only got stuck in the mud 2 times!  Praise GOD!!!   

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Matthew 10:8  Freely you have received, freely give. 

It is better to give than to receive.

We are blessed by your contributions to be able to travel to a nearby feeding center and take food for children that are orphaned or vulnerable but do not have the privilege to be living at Children of Zion.  It is only because God placed this on your heart that we have funding to give back to this community.  On Dec 19 we went with our volunteers and the few children that are still staying at Zion and went to celebrate Christmas with the children and volunteers at Mafuta.  We took chicken, macaroni, rice and cabbage.  The meal was blessed and the day was amazing.  Also, many of you have sent beanie babies.  We had enough to give 70 children, 10 staff and left 24 for the pre-school.  WOW!   God is GOOD!  We even had some donations of books from Real Way Down when they were here.  We were able to give to the pre-school.  Bridgett said that books were her prayer for the school and she was dancing praises! 

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We shared about the meaning of Christmas and the meaning of Christ’s love and that each one of us is special and there is a special plan for our lives when we listen, obey and follow Jesus.  We prayed, sang ate and even had a little soccer going in the road. 

Our 4 boys that went were able to give back to the community as they served these children and played games with them. A lesson on giving is priceless.  The blessing of giving is priceless.  Merry Christmas Mafuta!!

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COZV Staff Christmas Party 14 Dec 2011

Christmas celebrations are different in Africa but still fun.  As far as we have seen, there is nothing to do with red and green.  But we all know that if you go Christmas in the states, you wear red and green.  It is really just as well because we don’t really have red and green here to wear, so we just wear what we have.  For the men, anything goes.  For the women, they tend to dress up a bit.  Some in shatangis, some in traditional African suits, some in black pants or jeans.  We bought some nice African print material for the table cloth this year.  It did have red in it :)  The music was traditional African dancing music – nothing Christmas was played but everyone danced and had a great time (even the little girls!)  To eat we had chicken on the braii, potato salad and macaroni salad.  Lorna baked many cookies again so those were enjoyed by all and disappeared VERY quickly. 

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Gifts and thanks were given to the staff.  This year there were personalized gifts and the ladies thought they should model their new aprons included with COZV patch and their own name! 

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Isaiah 9:6  For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.