Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Our Christmas Season in Mali

Just a little different from what you're used to...
A few things you should know before reading the next part:
Peanuts is a staple food for us here.
It's cold season... degrees at night somewhere around 60s... stinkin COLD.
We sit around a mini fire at night to keep warm.
And some people can be seen wearing ski jackets and wool sweaters.
'To' is pounded millet/grain mush.
'Bwa' is our chief's name. He doesn't like 'to'.
'Tobabu' is the word for 'French/white person'.

A little ditty we came up one night when we were expecially in the Christmas spirit, at least the Malian Christmas spirit.
To the tune of "Christmas song'

Peanuts roasting on an open fire.
The smoke-- getting in your eyes.
Maninka songs being sung by a child
and folks dressed up like Eskimos.
Everybody knows some peanuts and some sauce and 'to'.
gets eaten in our compound every night.
And then there's Bwa with his fire all aglow,
who'll find it hard to eat tonight.
We know the donkey's on his way
pulling the wagon filled with boys and sacks of hay.
And every mother's child that walks on by
and sees a Tubab, gets scared, and starts to cry.
And so, I'm offering this simple phrase
so you won't miss it when we're through
cause it hasn't been said, anytime anyway.
Here's Merry Christmas to you.

Lastly, No one here understands what Christmas is or why we celebrate. We aren't surrounded with twinkling lights (except the stars themselves) or cheery expressions on people's faces because of the season. It's simply another day in the bush here. And they have no idea that God Himself came down to live among us, as a tiny baby. It's life as usual here, much like it must have been 2000 years ago when he first came. No one expecting Him. And very few to recognize Him when He came. My prayer is that we will not be among those who miss it. Miss the miracle of God With Us, Emmanuel, the One promised to come and set us free. Merry Christmas.