Christmas celebrations start with an office party. All of us who work in "services" (office, guest house, & SIMAIR) get together at a missionary family's house and enjoy a meal, games, and good conversation.
On the Sunday before Christmas, the children at church put on a little program with songs. They were so cute in their hats. There were sparkles on their hats so before long their foreheads and faces were also covered in sparkles.
On Christmas Eve I had to work half a day, but I got welcome packets ready for everybody who will be arriving between now and January 11.... a total of 30 people! That afternoon I made two casseroles (one to take to church and one for our guard) and two pies (for Christmas supper). Since our fridge needed to be emptied and I'd spent the afternoon cooking, we just ate left-overs for supper. (I'm so glad my husband doesn't mind left-overs! :) ) Then we went to the neighbor's house for a little Christmas play their kids put on. They have cousins who also live in Niamey, so altogether there were seven kids. They did a good job on it, but sorry, no pictures. Then we went to church for a "veille" or watchnight service. There was signing, special music, a message, offering, and more special music, this time by special groups.
At one point they singled out John and me and handed John the mic. For one very dreadful moment I thought they were going to ask us to sing or dance. John said some encouraging words to the church and everybody was satisfied. Whew!
Then Christmas Day it was back to church with our casserole in tow. We had more special music, singing, a message, and offering.
Afterwards we had a potluck dinner. It was much better organized this year than it was last year. This year they had us stay in our seat and brought the food around instead of letting people go through the line. So you didn't have a choice of what food you got, but it was a lot less chaos! Actually I was pleased with mine: roasted lamb, some kind of roasted/saucy peppers, and moin-moin, a Yoruba specialty that I remember and loved as a kid. So I was happy with what I had.
From there we went down the road to the homes of two of the teachers who teach at our school. They had invited some other teachers and their families who are visiting from the US. We had a delicious traditional meal of turkey and all the fixin's. An Embassy family who left had gifted the turkey to our hostess, so we had the real deal! We had a great time of conversation afterwards.
On the 26th, John and I opened our gifts. I usually make sticky buns for our gift-opening morning, but I just completely ran out of time and wasn't about to get up at 5:00 a.m. to make it happen! I really liked everything John got me! :) Here are three pieces of cloth and a scarf that he got me. Later that evening we invited friends over. We had our traditional curry supper and played games, but I didn't get any pictures.
The last two days I have slept A LOT! I have taken two hour naps on Friday and Saturday and had to force myself to get up. Last night I slept 10 hours straight. I think that when life slows down a bit my body has realized how tired and stressed I've been. Also, I've got a cold so that has worn me out.