Today (Tuesday the 27th) is still a holiday here in Zimbabwe. They decided since the Christmas was on Sunday to give us another day to rest--the 26th we always get off so it made it a nice 4 day weekend for people. We need to recuperate a bit from all the activities we had in the last few days.
On Friday, the 23rd, we had our annual staff party and lunch for all of our workers at the hospital. We had 96 staff who came and got a beautiful lunch of beef, rice, coleslaw and gravy. They ate so much!! They love this. We then gave speeches and then handed out a bag of groceries to each of the staff that had 2kg flour (4.4 pounds), 2 kg rice and 2 kg sugar, a long bar of washing soap, cooking oil, and 2 lt of Mazoe drink mix. They always look forward to this so they have groceries to serve for Christmas Day. We had some fun dancing and loud music and left after 5 to go home and come back quickly at 7 pm for our Candlelight service. It was actually our first day with electricity in 2 weeks so we had to turn the lights off!
We read from the Bible the Christmas story in Shona and sing carols in Shona. We sit outside in the courtyard of the hospital and it was a clear and beautiful night with stars shining. You could almost feel you were there long ago at the birth of our King, Jesus.
Saturday morning we came to the hospital to make rounds and discharges and then went home to pack up and go to Batanai (18 miles away and about 40 minutes). Just as we ready to go it poured down rain--so we waiting about an hour and half to go. Of course, the pour was knocked out with the rain and so for the last 3 days no electricity!!! We can't seem to have rain and power at the same time!
We arrived about 5 p.m. to Major's and my village at Batanai. We were met by many people already there and more continued to come. We had killed a cow and the first night had sadza and beef. Then all the family ( about 52 adults and 30+ kids) gathered to celebrate good things that happened in the family that year and to sing and dance and pray.
Sunday morning we had church at the village and so everyone was up early to get ready and butter and jam about 100+ loaves of bread. After church we had tea and bread and many people had 6 or more sandwiches of butter and jam! That is a traditional celebration here to have bread on Christmas as most people can only afford it once a year. We had a great time with the church people and then we had lunch of chicken, rice, cole slaw and lots to eat!!
We then had time to rest and then went to the local township (where there are 5 stores) to see the throngs of people that came to hang out. My white visitors had a throng of people who followed them as they checked out each store. Looked like the Pied Piper!
That night we had ham and beef and sadza for dinner and then showed a movie to about 200 people from the area that came. After the movie they turned up the music and danced loudly until midnight when Major turned off the generator and told the people to go to bed!
Monday, everyone took their time getting up. We had a wonderful breakfast and then again had time to rest and read. The girls from the US taught the other young people how to line dance and they loved that.
After lunch David and Major went off for some fishing. I got to read and rest for awhile more. I actually got 2 books read! Some of the family started to leave and we packed up and left about 7 p.m. We got home to no lights, so turned the generator on for 3 hours and went to bed. We had a wonderful celebration and the visitors really enjoyed it all.
The three girls, Kelsey, Cami and Kenzsi leave in the morning for Vic Falls and then home on the 31st. Their trip has been so fast but they have been able to experience so much.
David leaves on Friday and he has definitely decided he wants to be a doctor and will be pursuing that in the new year.
Thank you to all of you who financial support us throughout the year. All the best for a great 2017!
Major and Kathy for Christmas Party
Staff Christmas party
hospital Administration at the Christmas party: Major, Dr. Isala and Dr. Munodawafa
Lots of food and fun
Major was Father Christmas!
Came, Kelsey and Kenzie at the Candlelight Service
Mereki family putting together their gift--a sofa bed!
All the bread we bought!!
Came, Kenzie and Kelsey helping to cook for Christmas
The crowds at the township on Christmas Day
Bread and Tea for after church Christmas Day
Kelsey, Thinkwell (Major's brother), Cami and Kenzie for breakfast on Christmas Day
Church at the village on Christmas Day
Special Music by Major's relatives
Singing and Dancing at church
Major and group playing drums for the dancing and singing
Minister of Batanai, Reggie, preaching Christmas morning
Major's family that came for Christmas to the village
Girls with Carolyn Mereki and cousins (she is in yellow dress)
Major's brothers and sisters