Christmas has always been one of my favourite times of year. I have spent many festive seasons in hot climates as well as cold, and have always managed to get into the Christmas spirit whatever the weather. However, this year, in Zambia, it’s taking a bit more effort than usual to create that Christmas vibe.
The weather does obviously play a part… blue skies and blazing sunshine don’t often feature on Christmas greeting cards. However, I think it’s that Christmas can’t get under your skin here the way it does back home, where the radio blasts out Christmas tunes from October onwards and the department stores open the Christmas section at the end of the summer! Visiting the supermarket to find aisles stacked with mince pies, Christmas puds and mulled wine helps too.
Well, here in Katete, we don’t own a radio, we don’t have any large shops, the supermarket is over one hour away and none of the Katete shops have heard of mince pies!
That doesn’t mean that Christmas isn’t coming… it just means we need to work a bit harder to remind ourselves of the fact. So, to help me along, Micheal Buble has been serenading me in the evenings from his Christmas album, along with Slade, Wham and the Pogues, and we have a cardboard tree strung with fairy lights!
In addition, we’ve been trying to add a festive slant to our evening activities… for example having chestnuts roasting on an open fire (albeit out in the garden wearing short sleeves).
And not wanting to feel left out by seeing pictures of our friends at Christmas parties back home, we decided to have our own Katete Christmas Party. Despite limited resources, we somehow managed to source mince pies, mulled wine and christmas crackers! We also had a good carol sing-a-long… There may not be snow in Africa this Christmas time, but we’re certainly not about to let Christmas pass us by.