Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Season Away from Home?

Now is the moment of magic, when the whole, round earth turns again toward the sun, and here's a blessing: the days will be longer and brighter now, even before the winter settles in to chill us. Now is the moment of magic, when people beaten down and broken, with nothing left but misery and candles and their own clear voices, kindle tiny lights and whisper secret music, and here's a blessing: the dark universe is suddenly illuminated by the lights of the menorah, suddenly ablaze with the lights of the kinara, and the whole world is glad and loud with winter singing. Now is the moment of magic, when an eastern star beckons the ignorant toward an unknown goal, and here's a blessing: they find nothing in the end but an ordinary baby, born at midnight, born in poverty, and the baby's cry, like bells ringing, makes people wonder as they wander through their lives, what human love might really look like, sound like, feel like. Now is the moment of magic, and here's a blessing: we already possess all the gifts we need; we've already received our presents: ears to hear music, eyes to behold lights, hands to build true peace on earth and to hold each other tight in love. ~Victoria Safford
In a previous blog, I wrote a little bit about spending the holiday season away from my friends and family that I am used to and yet I've realized that I do have a new family to spend the holidays with here.

Reflecting back on the month of Ramadan when I was still relatively new to this community and I was not sure of what I would be doing through the Holiday.

Season I briefly began to consider what this December would have in store for me. I was wondering if I would travel to celebrate Christmas with my home-stay family from training in Loitokitok. Or perhaps I would invite a small group of PCVs and other friends to visit me in Garissa to celebrate Christmas and maybe even ring in the New Year's in together celebrating with some camel milk chai.
However, as time has passed and as I've now come to realize, I do not need to have other Americans present for me to be able to celebrate a happy and festive holiday season as I have been used to in the past.

Since the time of Ramadan, I have spent a lot of time with the members of my community. After spending so much time with them, learning their customs [such as eating food without the use of utensils], learning the language [I'm alright in Kiswahili and I've began learning Somali), and dressing and acting the way they do (you've seen pictures of me in a Kikoi, right?)

So this year and next year I will celebrate the Holiday season with my new community without the familiarity of the Christmas music playing all around and the Holiday decorations around the shopping centers and houses with their unique decorations demonstrating the Spirit of the Holidays.

Last night I actually realized I don't really have any traditional Christmas music only a CD of parodies a good friend gave to me a few years back. So in case any of you feel generous a gift of some holiday music would be appreciated :)

Picture time!

River Tana as seen from the bridge leading to Coast Province:

Cowsay Linux application welcoming you all to North Eastern Province Technical Training Institute:

Storks enjoying the Holiday Season:

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