Christmas Day Celebrations

We slept lightly last night, listening for Eta's voice to call out that our fish were ready to be cooked.  A little before 3 a.m., Sarah woke up, saw lights and movement in Eta's kitchen, got dressed, and walked over.  Eta and her sisters were cooking our fish along with their own so they didn't have to disturb us.  We have the best neighbors!

The "rising bell" rang forty-four times at 4 a.m.  I think everybody in the entire village rolled over and went back to sleep.  But when the "swimming bell" rang at 5:30, we all popped out of bed.  At 6:10, one of our friends knocked on the door to ask if we had any candles the church could use in the service.  The tapers were already packed up with the Christmas tree, waiting for the Kosco, but we still had one unopened box, and Aaron was able to dig it out. 

The church service began at 6:45, and we couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day.  As we walked the few feet between our home and the church, a huge rainbow stretched almost the entire width of the sky, and I felt like God had given me a beautiful Christmas present.  After the church service, everyone was dismissed for morning tea.  Ezekiel walked by our house and called up to ask if we had any coffee. 
Since Aaron drinks coffee, Ezekiel has developed a strong preference for coffee over tea.  Over pumpkin raisin muffins (my mom's recipe) and coffee, Aaron, Ezekiel, and I sat on the porch and enjoyed visiting until the insistent bells called us down to the public area for the dancing.

Karumalun always has the best traditional dancing.  They are so fun to watch!  Olivia was fun to watch, too.  She and her small friend, Muna, giggled as Muna played with Olivia's hair.  Over and over and over again, Muna pulled Olivia's hair over her face, and Olivia blew it out of her eyes.  Muna thought it was the best game in the world!

After the dancing came the feasting.  Sarah and I went up to the kitchen to get the lelenga/cassava pudding, only to discover that our extra thick culinary masterpiece wasn't cooked all the way through.  Bummer.  We cut the edges off and took them down as our contribution.

And then began the long process of combining each family's food, making big piles, distributing the piles on the coconut leaf tables, then waving the flies away while we wait for the start of the feast.

An abundance of food, mostly fish and lelenga, filled up tummies, and then it was time for the speeches.

Aaron was the last one to give a speech, and he made an impact with an object lesson of a dull knife and the lack of God's Word in our lives.

The guests began heading home around 4:00, then the clean up from the festivities began.

What do you do with all of the food and leaf detritus?  You throw it into the sea, of course!  I'm super proud of my kids who played hard all weekend, then worked hard to serve our neighbors by helping to clean up.  We should sleep well tonight!


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