Dare I say it? Bah, humbug!
Dili Travel Blog› entry 59 of 86 › view all entries
Christmas in a strange land seems to bring sadness more often than not. I have very fond memories of my 1992 Christmas in Bristol. I can't recal any others I've had out of New Zealand but I've never been a fan of the season so I've always been happy to work and allow the guys with families to be at home with the kids. That's what Christmas is all about as far as I'm concerned, children.
Being on mission has thrown me together with workmates in a closer situation that I would like to be. A couple of years back I suggested to my mother we ignore Christmas and just have macoroni Cheese for our lunch. I love to tell that story now and watch my friends freak out before they growl me for being the grinch.
I always spend the day with Ma if I can and we have a very low key day together. Having been advised of the huge plans the Kiwi team has for tomorrow and the next day frightens the b'jesus out of me (am I allowed to say that since it's Christmas?). Luckily I have a full day in the office working on policy documents and new forms so I can keep it low key to some extent.
Lunch will be a buffet style barbeque here at the hotel with the hotel staff. Dinner will be leftovers and then we kiwis will get down to playing secret Santa to each other, opening our RSA gift boxes and entertaining ourselves with beer, wine and trivial pursuit quiz games.
I'm hoping th plans made will run smoothly. We must remember we are here because this is a peace-keeping mission and the country has a traumatic history. Ther are still murders happening every day throughout the nation, domestic violence is prevalent and the Kiwis working in the stations around Dili tonight reported drinking had begun at 3pm so there is already a high level of intoxification out there. Alcohol the agressor. Just right for Christmas night and a fight!
At 8pm tonight the drinking will stop and everyone will go to mass. Almost like an interlude I guess. After that they will return to the celebration for more palm wine and beer. Hopefully drinking themselves into a stupor rather than a fury.
With the country being over 90% Catholic they take Christmas pretty seriously. Everyone has been working steadily on the building of mangers over the past week. Some of them are really great and the builders have even tapped into the overhead powerlines to run lights through the scenes.
Last year there was a competition for the best manger but after several of the competitors torched rival scenes to better their chances of winning the prize money organisers have decided not to repeat the competition side of the event.
As for me, I have my secret Santa gift bought and wrapped, I have sent out my cards and emails, I have wished my workmates the I shall not see all the best, now all I have to do is grin and bare it.