December 25th, 2007 – by: kristine_hardy
Today was much like any other day, except that Candice and I gave out presents at the end of the day when we finally realised they weren't actually going to have any 'Christmas' Celebrations. Often (every second day?) the kids have prayers and dancing (they go together here) in the morning but I don't think we even had any on Christmas day. All the excitment was being saved up for the 26th which is the anniversary of the Home being set up- but we didn't quite realise that. Anyway I'd gotten all the presents wrapped and sort of allocated them into groups according to age and sex and put names on the ones that were for specific boys who had wanted something particular. We managed to hand them out getting the kids to line up by age (roughly). We had to tell them they could open them as they just stared at these wrapped objects.
When they did they managed to enjoy themselves playing with (and destroying) the cars and plastic fishes etc and using the paints on their faces and the books, although I think some of the exercise books were quickly grabbed off them and stored away by the staff. The cyborg and batman masks were a hit after the babies got over their initial fright and everyone wanted their photo taken in them. They also loved the balloons.
They were allowed to play for a while but then the stuff was packed away. We are told they are allowed to play on Sundays and I hope they are, I would take the books out and over the next few weeks I was there. I also managed to save the rest of the crepe paper to amuse the kids making head decorations one day, which were surprisingly popular. Coming from such an individulistic consumer orientated culture I find it hard to imagine a childhood where you didn't own anything and shared everything, the idea that you can't go to bed and read a book (partly because there wasn't any electricity) seriously scares me. But it is great to see the kids share things and how much they get joy out of even little things. Its amazing.