Christmas in Tanzania is celebrated differently. It’s much more subdued than an American or westernized Christmas. You won’t find pictures with Santa Claus or reindeers pulling his sleigh, Christmas trees decorated in lights or stockings filled with candy. Families typically gift their children with new clothes, not toys or impractical things. On Christmas day, many families attend church and depending on the church there is a potluck meal afterwards. You won’t see large family gatherings or big holiday meals like in the States. In Tanzania, the day is spent very much like a regular Sunday at church, but with a focus on the true meaning of Christmas: Jesus’ birth.
Although Christmas here is a little different, I’m looking forward to adding some “Christmas magic” for the girls this year. For the first time in Tanzania history, Santa Claus will be stopping by MGRC! The girls made all the preparations for St. Nick’s arrival. Each girl’s decorated stocking made by a donor were hung with care. Our house mothers will tuck the girls in their beds Christmas Eve. When the girls awake Christmas morning, their stockings will be filled with candy and a surprise present will be waiting for them – a keyboard!
Many of you know from our social media posts or emails that the girls love to sing and dance. Music is a huge part of life here and I thought what better gift to give then the gift of music…and piano lessons. I hope the keyboard will be enjoyed for years to come. Who knows, we may have a superstar or two in the making. In the meantime, I am prepared for a lot of joyful noise!
Christmas is a special time of year no matter how you celebrate. Words cannot express how grateful I am for all of you, for your time, generosity, and tireless efforts to make these girls’ lives better. We could not be here doing the work we do without you! From our family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!