My Christmas Marathon started last Thursday, I am sure that it probably started long before last Thursday, but I am too tired to think beyond that right now. Thursday (the 23rd), I finished my Christmas shopping, bought groceries, went to the market to get candy for our neighbour kids & my Sunday school class, assembled 52 candy bags, started my dough for cinnamon buns and somehow in there found time to make a few meals for my family. I had decided to make the cinnamon buns to give to my Nigerien friends and neighbours that had kindly included us in their Tabaski celebrations, but I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into with a new recipe from the internet that a friend here had kindly introduced me to. It turned out that I had to recruit Dave’s help at a couple of key points because the recipe was quite a bit larger than I expected, but I was grateful that it could be done in two stages and left in the fridge over night. Our plan was to try and do most of our “public” celebrations on Christmas Eve and to lay low on Christmas Day with just the family, but so much for plans…
Friday I got up extra early to finish baking the seven pans of cinnamon buns that magically turned into nine when needed and we even got to eat one! I got ready for the kids club and then returned cloth and money to a neighbour that I was helping with their business besides it was a good excuse to be on the street and let the neighbours know that we were doing kids club a day early because of the holiday. Instead of the regular kids club we told the Christmas story using a picture book. Both Dave and I were amazed at how awed the kids were with the pictures, it is easy to forget that a lot of these kids rarely see books, let alone ones with big coloured pictures. Dave had simplified the story and we had translated it into zarma with the help of our language teacher a couple of years ago. After the story, my house helper helped to line up the kids in an orderly fashion so that we could distribute candy bags on their way out of the gate so that we didn’t start a riot in our yard or on the street. 38 bags later, it sort of worked, I think…. Then we were off to the post office and to distribute cinnamon buns. Somehow Dave found an hour sometime in the day to put the finishing touches on his sermon that he was to preach that night, and we were given two invitations for Christmas celebrations the next day. Church was supposed to start at 8pm on Christmas Eve, but we had been given permission to be late (if Dave was willing to preach at 9:45). We made it on time, but the service started late, so we got to watch Nigerian (from Nigeria, not Niger, therefore in English, Hausa and Yarouba) while we waited. Dave preached and we stayed until dinner was served at 10:30, but didn’t make it through the rest of the service. It was going to continue until 5:30am because the neighbourhood the church is in isn’t the safest at night, so the people don’t want to walk after dark. At home, the boys went to bed and Dave delivered a plate of cinnamon buns to the neighbour he regularly has tea with, while I started wrapping Christmas presents.
After our Christmas morning celebrations with the boys, we went for dinner at a friend’s house that included interactive games and a white elephant gift exchange. We managed to get in a visit to another birthday party that we were invited to too. So much for our quiet day at home, but that was probably just wishful thinking anyway.
I had thoughts of sleeping in this morning, but it’s Sunday and I am not as ready as I should be for my Sunday school class (I am really not as fluent at reading French as I would like to be and it is generally a good idea to know the vocabulary in a story before you try to read it to kids.) So, its 5am the call to prayer will be starting any minute and I will be entering the last leg of my Christmas celebration for this year. I hope yours was good, (that you will forgive any errors that I might have made at this time in the morning) and that we will all find rest when the festivities are finished. Merry Christmas!