We celebrated. Without a doubt it was ridiculous and complete chaos. Paula stopped counting after 85 people arrived (although it seemed to me there were at least that many children:). But after everything was over; the last package of pilau given out, the last mat swept off and folded up, the last watoto shooed away, and all the dirty dishes staked carefully we got the girls in bed and finally sat down, had a cold soda, and talked. We decided it was crazy chaos to be sure but not the kind that makes you want to bang your head against the wall just the kind that requires you to fall into bed with sheer exhaustion. It was the best party we have had yet! Or at least that is our review...we'll have to make our rounds this week and ask our friends how it went. So far this morning 4 neighbors have already stopped by (the first at 6:45AM!) and early reviews say it was a great shindig (and they will tell you if it was not, trust me). Although we did get pointers that we should have had plain white rice for those who don't eat pilau or meat (we did not even know that was possible here) and we ran out of drinks (120 bottles was not enough) but live and learn.
The day started with epic henna (I say epic because it took about 3 hours longer than expected) but by 3pm even Lusi and Anni were henned up and ready to party! People started to trickle in and bring their mats about 5pm. We had games and face painting for the kids thanks to the help of some team members (Asante!!). The shule watoto did get the courage to sing and I was pretty crazy proud of them. The kids all hunted for treasure hidden in the shamba. Jason's good friend MC'd, we both gave little speeches, and Jason prayed before we ate together. The eating itself was pretty impressive and my girlfriends get Rock Star awards for organizing everyone, helping with hand washing, set up, distributing the hot sauce, and clean up. Yeah, it was as insane as it sounds. After everyone was throughly stuffed Jason set the projector and laptop up to show the sinema bubu (my new FAVORITE Kiswahili words- silent film or literally "mute cinema"; isn't that great!) which was really just a PowerPoint of pictures. But sounds WAY cooler when you say sinema bubu! There were a few pictures of our pre-island life: our families in America (everyone gasped when they saw our grandparents and we told them how old they are-they loved it), my classroom and students in Chicago, the city, Jason pre-beard and working in an office, and the biggest hit of all; SNOW (for many this was just a wild Wazungu rumor until now and they LOVED a short clip of us sledding in REAL hard core MidWestern winter). Then we showed about 20 minutes of pictures we have taken of all of them over the last 2 years. This was by far my favorite part just looking around at everyone smiling and laughing and pointing to each other when their pictures came up. There was uproarious laughter as each picture flashed across the wall and even though there were over 200 pictures that never got old. After giving out the last of the cookies and food everyone made their way back home in the dark. Lots of smiles, thanks, and "God will bless you" wishes. It was a lot of work and we are hoping for some quieter days ahead but celebrating with everyone and sharing the Joy we have at Christmas blessed us and we pray our neighbors and friends as well.
the ladies chatting
the girls were awesome during the party...we were so grateful! Anni sat with all the other kids and scooped pilau into her mouth with her hand. She had a blast!
face painting was a HUGE hit!
the man folk
treasure hunt tasks to get the map
the girls actually looked at the map instead of just running through the shamba so they were the ones to actually find the correct banana tree and begin digging for the treasure! Go girls!!
Yes, sweet, sweet victory....box full of candy and treats
sinema bubu watching
Merry Christmas from our little island to you and yours, where ever you are this Christmas may it be filled with Love, Peace, and Joy that only Christ brings.