Christmas Giving in Pedasí

This past week the north wind breezes have picked up, indicating the change in the seasons from wet to dry. It has been a pleasant few days allowing us to do some exploring, go to the beach, and Mikkel went fishing with a couple other guys on a fishing “ponga” on the ocean. They only caught one Durado, but it his share supplied us with enough for 2-3 delicious meals. It’s between seasons; even the regular fishermen were not out fishing.
Nevertheless the nice weather was only a teaser of what’s to come. Yesterday it was back to pouring “cats and dogs”, filling up all the culverts and rivers, and flooding our neighbors’ yards. This did not discourage a group of us to drive down to the school in Playa Los Destiladeros for a “Fiesta de Navidad por Niños”. A few weeks ago our friend Alison put out an email request for volunteers to take on the task of planning and participating in a Christmas party for the children of this neighborhood school. She had been doing this herself in the past, but would be able this year because she would be gone. A number of us stepped up to the call and several donated money, food, and their time. Presents for the children were bought and wrapped. Some of us helped cook the “arroz con pollo” and “papas ensalada” and stuffed stockings with candy, apples, and popcorn. Then about a half dozen of us drove over to the school Friday morning for the party. What a blessing to see all the children and their families smiling and laughing as we served the food, passed out presents, and played games including piñatas. Everyone pitched in where ever they were needed. The local Pedasí pastor was also there to read a Bible passage, sing, and play the games with the children. This was a great way to start the Christmas season and is what Christmas is all about-not so much in giving presents, but serving and sharing our love to others. The smiles on the children and others says it all.

This is our first Christmas in Pedasí, away from our family and friends back in the US. It will definitely be different – warm weather, palm trees, and no family to spend unwrapping gifts from under the tree. I certainly miss the singing. I used to sing with a professional chorus in Christmas concerts. But we are making so many good friends here; it’s becoming a different kind of family. And Christmas is the similar everywhere with Christmas Trees, decorations and lights, Christmas music, manger scenes, parties, etc. Many families here actually give their houses a fresh coat of paint and then decorate their homes placing the Christmas tree outside in front. We will have an artificial tree this year instead of our traditional tree that we cut down each year. There are fresh trees sold in Chitre, but I feel they will turn brown before Christmas Day. So we have the fake tree with the ornaments I brought from the states. But there will be other things to do first (explained in next blog). Christmas is more than decorations, shopping, and parties. It is about sharing, loving, and giving to others, which should continue all year round. It is a celebration of Christ’s birth. Tis the “reason for the season”.

Neighbors Flooded Yard from Our Patio

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