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Giving Gifts

There is a nice custom in this area that says when you return from a trip you must bring your family and friends a gift. If you have just gone to another town for the day to the market, you may bring back some bean cakes or a piece of fruit. The longer you are gone, the nicer the gift you should bring back. So, if you are gone on a long trip for an extended period of time, you would bring back clothes or jewelry.

Since we were gone for a year we would need to bring back nicer gifts. The problem for us is that we know the entire neighborhood and that gets pretty expensive to buy gifts for everyone! Thankfully, my cousin, Jeanne, took us to a really nice thrift shop and I found a lot of good, barely used t-shirts there. Our church, Grace Bible in PA, also has "Open Closet" each year in which people in the church can bring used clothes and household items and give them away to other people in the church and to people living at low income levels. I was able to get some nice things there, too. So, we were able to return with tons of t-shirts for the kids, scarves and nail polish for the women, and playing cards and t-shirts for the men.

The kids were so excited when they got their shirts. One boy even wanted to know if I had taken their measurements before I left since they all fit so perfectly. They tried them on right away and then wanted me to take their pictures. I did until that got totally out of control! Too many kids, too much noise, too much confusion!!! Some of these kids weren't even wearing their new clothes. As you can see, we have some real hams in the group.
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