The Twelve Days of (Ugandan) Christmas

Disclaimer: this blog was intended to be posted before the New Year, however we got here before you all and were waiting for you to catch up (also the internet failed us!).

A post-Christmas, pre-New Year update for you all. Sorry it isn’t chronological, but it gives a very numerical outline of our celebrations!

One children’s Christmas party

A week before Christmas we organised a Christmas party for the children who attend our Sunday School groups. It involved a lot of dancing and games (musical bumps managed to combine the two!) and all of the children loved seeing the church decorated with balloons. Despite almost having no music thanks to the wonders of technology, it was a huge success and everyone had a great time!

Two days of adventures

The week after Christmas all of our projects were on hold so we decided to take this opportunity to go exploring around Gulu and the surrounding area! We first found an abandoned train station and wagon, we spent a while asking some local people in our very limited Acholi (“where Gar?”) and found it eventually. We also visited Samuel Baker’s Fort, in Patiko. It was a great way to get out of town for a while and see more of what Uganda has to offer (and to climb some pretty big rocks!)

Three cooked chickens

Unfortunately we couldn’t get turkey to have for Christmas dinner but there are plenty of chickens around. Much to Kirsty’s dismay (and the rest of the team’s delight) we also couldn’t find any Brussel sprouts!

Four advent calendars

We would like to take this moment to sincerely thank Team Nepal for their premature, yet very thoughtful, gift of advent calendars. We definitely enjoyed our daily fix of chocolate leading up to Christmas.

Five members of team Uganda

A week and a half before Christmas we moved house! Friends of our supervisors have gone back to the UK for three months and so we get to house-sit their (quite massive) house, which comes along with a cat! Therefore four members now becomes five… we have noticed a pattern with Team Uganda and various animals.

Jeff the Cat leading an insightful Bible study

Six Christmas carols

We had the privilege of being invited to a night of carols hosted by an American couple. This was lit by 300 candles placed in paper bag lanterns around the garden, it looked truly magical!

Seven dubious nativity actors

We were asked by Pastor Jimmy to present a nativity sketch on Christmas Eve. We had three little helpers and we really enjoyed ourselves… the costumes were questionable though.

Eight countries came together for Christmas day

For Christmas, we hosted a big gathering of 21 people from England, Northern Ireland, Kenya, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Uganda.

Nine hundred hours spent listening to Christmas music*

The lead up to Christmas was primarily enjoyed through the debates of whose Christmas music was better. The choices were between Michael Buble, traditional carols, cheesy pop music or silence (guess who each suggestion relates to and answers will be revealed in the next blog!)

Ten thousand shillings spent on secret Santa presents

We decided to make our Christmas gift giving more exciting by doing it secret santa style! However we all went into town on Christmas Eve together to buy the presents and ended up being able to guess who had who – despite this, it was a really lovely way to enjoy having presents under our tree!

Unfortunately, you can’t actually see the presents but rest assured they were there!

Eleven nativity ornaments

On the subject of decorations, we have a full nativity scene in our new house – Olivia and Kirsty thoroughly enjoyed raiding the Christmas decoration box as soon as we moved in.

Twelve Christmas traditions

As previously mentioned, we had a very large Christmas day with many people who have grown up experiencing Christmas with different traditions. Some of these included cricket in the backyard, singing ‘the Twelve Days of Christmas’ around the dinner table, various foods from parts of the world and many arguments on when and how you pull Christmas crackers (and shocked that Americans presumed Christmas crackers were Christmas biscuits!)

[* possible slight exaggeration]

Prayer and Praise Points:

  • Praise for the success of the Christmas party, and thanks for the many celebrations we took part in at Christmas time.
  • Prayer as we head into the New Year; that it will be fruitful and joyful and we all feel refreshed, ready to continue with our projects.
  • Praise God for more space! We are so grateful to the Ovenden’s for allowing us to house-sit for them. Please pray that they have a restful time in the UK despite their hectic schedule.
  • Please continue to specifically pray for an increase in numbers attending the bible study and English classes that we run, pray that we are able to know how to engage best with those we are aiming them at.
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