Friday, 23 December 2011

On faith, friends, feast and fiends

Slugs and Snails Menorah...MOMA collection 2012!

One of the few negatives to being here during this time is not being able to share the festivities with friends and family. So in the spirit of all things we wish you good cheer and a happy Chanukah. But wherever we find ourselves in the world we always somehow find like minded people, sometimes that happens on top of a bus traveling through the Kathmandu valley with two mad Israelis or hitching a lift along the road with your blonde friend in an area renowned for murders. This year things are different because we are both traveling with our hobbits and that means a different set of life experiences. The boys love Chanukah, not because they think its great to get gifts each day, but because we always share it with family. This year we were resigned to a simpler small family affair. 

But in this world you are never alone and we were invited by one of the school parents to her house for day two of Chanukah. I didn’t know about this until an Israeli au pair who was looking after the two girls who happened to be swimming with Zac and Josh introduced herself and told me I was going to their house the following day for the celebration. Now it is not every day you’re ordered (in the way only Israeli girls wearing a bikini can) to someone’s house for celebrations and good food.
Upon our return to the house Zanner, or as she is now called the ‘oversight oversight committee’ reminded me without having told me, we were cordially invited etc etc.
So the next day the boys decided that as school finished at 11:15 they were inviting themselves early to the girls (Nogha and Amy’s) house. This was made all the more interesting because Odette the nanny was driving. Whilst we walked towards the car the ‘hellcat’ (see: On hot climate carols and camp guard food keepers) fell off her bike outside the school gate in full view of Zac. Not having chance to investigate if Zac had a 666 branded on his head I rushed out to help pick her up and bring her into the guard house. We organised a car and I administered a degree of first aid.
The boys went off and I went to her (Anna-Marika) house where I finished cleaning her up and rang for her husband who works at the same hospital as Zanner. Although badly shaken I couldn’t determine any serious injury but it was clear something was not right. I ran round and got Tobias the Physio and he arranged to get her to the hospital. I learned later that she had unfortunately broken her arm, but on the plus side it was a small fracture and it would seem didn’t warrant a cast.
Zac as always first to the flame
Whilst all this was going on the woman who had driven Anna home had asked her parents to take her children home, a ten minute walk down the road. Her mother and father duly took smalls down the road only to fall victims to an attempted mugging...this was 11:30am!!!! The father (grandfather) put up a sterling effort and fought off the would be fiends and although took a few punches for his trouble managed to wrestle the t-shirt of one of them. Of course the children were traumatised and this has left a terrible taste within the community. It is a renowned trouble spot for muggings on a night-time but it is unheard of during the day. It is assumed that there is a real desperation around running up to x-mas in these parts.
Joshua and Amy decide upon private prayer
Unfortunately we were now faced with this information whist noting we were due to walk round the 1/2km to our host’s house. I had already spent an hour trying to find the place earlier when I went to pick up the boys. We tried calling our taxi guy but he was no doubt asleep...Come on it was 6pm! So with Zac deciding to take a sharp stick and threatening all sorts of retribution we set off. Given his recent track record I pitied anyone who crossed him but at the same time it was a rather edgy and very quick walk.
Baruch hata Adonai

We arrived to find a feast and great company with which to share our celebrations. Again the people you meet never fail to impress with their commitment to working against the odds here in Africa. Jeremy, a South African by birth who had spent many years in the UK had travelled to Israel where he started a new life with his Finnish wife Camilla.  They were both homeopathy practitioners who had set up numerous clinics across Tanzania and were achieving great results with the HIV/AIDS patients. This excited Zanner and from this they are hopefully going to work together with some of Zanner’s patients. But for those of you with a medical bent I am sure Zanz will update you on this as it develops. Suffice to say we lit candles, sang songs and ate great food with lovely people. The children all played wonderfully together and dressed up in an array of the girls dressing up clothes. At the end of the night Jeremy drove us home and we made a commitment to eat as many Friday evenings together as we could. We arrived home tired but needing to pack for our next adventure, as we were to fly to Zanzibar the following day at 8am...

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