Saturday, January 10, 2015

Happy New Years!

Happy New Years! This past New Years Eve celebrations were certainly ones I won’t forget. Full of fun, laughter and joy.

New Years Eve is a huge celebration in Mozambique. Usually if children have any extended family or relatives they can visit over the holidays; they leave the centre for a few days. Then the much more numerous group children who truly don’t have anywhere to go are left behind. As such, we try to make it as special as possible celebrating our larger family here at Zimpeto. Our staff dressed up in costumes and wigs in light of the celebrations. I managed to find a leopard costume—possibly the most scandalous thing I have worn in months in their conservatively dressed culture! As children arrived for the party I may have accidentally scared a few of our youngest girls as I hissed jokingly at them in my costume.

My friend and I organized the party for the 180-some children who were at the centre for New Years with us. We planned 13 different activity stations such as cookie decorating, bracelet making, Twister, crafts, ring toss, bean bag toss, face painting, and more. Fun and chaos filled the air as we rotated the kids through different centres. Of all the activities we planned, I think my two favourites were piñatas and straw in the hair. I had made 14 piñatas before the party and I left Evan in charge of that station in a small area with lots of traffic with a bat, blindfold and 15 kids per activity at a time. Fortunately, I am pleased to report that no children were injured during piñata time despite the recipe for disaster! As for straw in the hair, I originally thought it was a joke when someone suggested the idea—apparently it’s a tradition here! Essentially you give each child a handful of straws and see how many straws they can stick in their hair. It definitely made for some good photos and lots of laughs.

After the activities were done we watched a slideshow of pictures from Christmas and ate hotdogs. Then came movie time! We gobbled down chips and sweets to try to stay awake until midnight. I couldn’t help but chuckle when one of our youngest girls had an accident during the movie and peed on the floor. Never a dull moment when you are surrounded by 70 young ladies! Many of our little ones fell asleep during the movie as it was far past their bed time. But we woke them up just before midnight to go and see the fireworks.

The fireworks here were amazing. Most of the children and youth loved them, although a few of our younger girls who were petrified by the loud noises and explosives buried themselves in our arms during the light show.

Tired and exhausted, we all stumbled off to bed. What a fun way to celebrate the New Year. We so look forward to everything that 2015 hold for us here in Mozambique and with our girls.

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