Monday, 6 February 2012

Camels and Christmas... (better late than never!)

From Taxis to another form of Chadian transport… camels! What better way to pass a warm Christmas eve than bouncing along on the back of a camel enjoying the sights of the Chari river from our little trek across N’Djamena’s golf course. Yep, you heard right, camel riding across a golf course! The green was, well not green, and though the welcome sign warned us that golfers took priority, there weren’t many of those either. And so I, along with the Hotchkin family, passed a pleasant hour or so bobbing along, occasionally breaking out into the compulsory “We 3 Kings ..”.

Decorating a twig with tinsel, giving and receiving presents, singing carols and cheesy Christmas songs (I’m dreaming of a white Christmas being a particular favourite), watching the Snow Man and eating roast chicken complete with all the trimmings- stuffing, gravy and even (tinned) Brussel sprouts (which were truly disgusting!) meant that Christmas was passed in a similar, if not warmer way, “just like the ones I used to know”!

However, one of my favourite parts of the day was handing out presents to the children who were inpatients at the hospital over Christmas- the delight and awe that shone from their faces when they realised they could keep the little toy was so humbling and a real pleasure to behold. Of course, there were also the little ones who were just down right terrified of the Nasaras (White People) coming  towards them that no amount of present giving could diminish their screams!

It was a great way to follow up the Oscar winning performance from the hospital staff who, as angels in white lab coats and shepherds in Arab dress, recreated The Nativity, Chadian style, for the inpatients, relatives and villagers of Guinebor. Meanwhile, just behind the action of the birth of Jesus was action of a similar kind; a baby was born!

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