Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas in Africa

Merry Christmas, Everyone! What a simple joyful holiday it is here in Africa. Last night for Christmas Eve the whole Harnas “family” joined together for a celebration on the lawn by the lapa.

The Bushman children sang songs—none of them Christmas carols that I recognized—but so full of jumping, hand-clapping, and gestures that I could hardly contain my delight. You can see the movement in this picture. I wish I could send you my video, but that will have to wait till I get home. Still pictures take about 10 minutes to upload, and I can’t imagine how long a video would take. Since I pay per minute here, I think I won’t attempt it.

After the children sang, the volunteers, staff, and guests took turns singing “Silent Night” in their mother tongue. So we had versions from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, English/American/Australian, Herero, San, and Afrikaans.

Then “Father Christmas” arrived with a present for each child and each staff member. Just a token something from Marieta and Harnas, but it was close to 100 people, I think. She even got a little something for me. Here, it truly is about the thought rather than the thing.

In an around it all were dogs, cats, a baby springbok, three baby donkeys, desert tortoises, and baby ostriches. The manger scene had nothing on us.

Today for Christmas, there was a special service at the small, open-air chapel that Marieta had built in honor of her husband and son—who both passed away in the past decade. More singing, dancing, and children. Later we'll have a big buffet lunch for everyone. And that’s it. The one decoration is a sort of tree made from part of a cactus--which has red tinsel on it. It looks sort of like a Dr. Seuss tree.

Back to feeding the animals and taking care of them—they don’t take a holiday.

So simple. So pure. A perfect Christmas in my book.


  1. Merry, merry Christmas to you, Barb. Thinking about you as we wind down a great day here in NOLA. :)

  2. I saw the video Harnas posted on their FB wonderful. The joy on the children's faces was magical. Merry Christmas, Barb. Talk to you soon.