Following our busy Thanksgiving meal, team members started decorating, playing Christmas music, and putting up their trees. Some visitors also began to arrive from the US; Rachel's mum came out this year for the holiday season and Kayla's parents as well.
At school, the kids, under the direction of our talented music teacher, Julie Banks, began preparing for the annual Christmas play. Over the month of December, they performed it several times including at the hospital and the feeding program, as well as in the Kirundi service at our local church, and at the Christmas party for our Burundian house helpers. Everyone did a great job! The audience especially enjoyed when Maggie (playing Mary) walked behind the set and came back with a balloon under her dress signifying her pregnancy with the baby Jesus. The play was narrated in French and Kirundi by two of the KHA students, Piper and Liam.
|"Wee" three kings|
|A whole heavenly host|
|Performing at the hospital|
|Performing at the feeding program|
The second-last Friday of school before the holiday break, Jean, Rachel's mother, led a learning experience day. The kids had the opportunity to explore Christmas traditions from cultures around the world including India, Germany, and Mexico. Part of the day included making a Christmas food from that culture to share. As expected, that turned out to be a very popular and delicious activity. The groups also learned how to sing "Silent Night" in German, Spanish, and Hindi.
|Making Christmas snacks|
At the doctor's bible study we wrapped up our book study for the year with some cookie decorating and other treats. Some of the Burundian doctors had never decorated Christmas cookies before, so it was a novel experience. Ted and Mattieu acted as judges and selected the most creative, most delicious-looking, and most "Christmas-y" cookies from amongst all those that were decorated.
As Christmas approached, there was a "White Elephant" Party for the adults and several parties for the kids as well, most of which involved playing the game Just Dance. We also had the special treat this year of having several of our musically-talented Burundian friends host a Christmas coffee house night in which they played and sang while the rest of us were able to chat and enjoy some yummy snacks and hot beverages. At the end of the night they opened up the floor and we had a few people go up to the mic and sing or play the keyboard. John even broke out his saxophone!
|John on the sax and Eric on piano|
Throughout the month, the kids made several videos at school creatively depicting parts of the Christmas story. These were shared at Friday morning chapels and were accompanied by many laughs. They were meaningful and also lots of fun. On the last day of school, we had a half-day of cookie decorating, games, and Christmas stories.
|Just making sure that the icing does, in fact, taste good...|
Today, in the early evening, our community gathered together for a Christmas Eve service. Eric led us in traditional carols and Rachel in Scripture readings. It was a beautiful service focusing our hearts on the coming of our king.
Tonight, people are enjoying meals together and hurrying their kids to bed in preparation for the big day tomorrow. There will be a French and a Kirundi service at our local church tomorrow and Carlan will be sharing the message at the French service. After that, several of the kids and adults will be heading up to the hospital to distribute some small Christmas gifts and to sing some carols in the wards.
Though there is no snow here, we are all finding ways to celebrate the season. Many of us are thinking of family back at home and sending our love from afar. Wishing all of you much joy this Christmas season from the team at Kibuye! In Kirundi we say Noheli Nziza!