Christmas Day in Moshi

Just finished an ice-cream sundae with one of the kids – a final smile in a day filled with many smiles.  Thanks to the local airline getting me my lost luggage, and thanks to the Nairobi airport baggage workers who did not steal anything despite an infamous reputation for doing so, I had plenty of gifts to give out today here in Kilimanjaro.  The day also included a couple of the kids swimming in the small pool at my hotel, and a kids’ mass at church in the morning.

The main Christmas activity was lunch with GO’s Local Hero Mama Grace.  She invited me, 2 of her sons, 4 of her young nieces, and 6 orphaned kids that I brought along, for a traditional Tanzanian lunch. One of her sons has autism and was very active and full of energy.  Most of the kids that I brought had never interacted with someone with autism, so it was a great eye-opening experience for them.  Mama Grace talked to each of the kids about their future, their plans for school and careers, and encouraged them all to volunteer during their Christmas holidays. They may have little in the way of material goods, but they can give of their time, and they can see that they are not the only kids with challenges and there is always a lot to be grateful for.

On Boxing Day we will do some more swimming (it’s a rare treat, so whenever I’m in town, we get in at least one or two visits to a local pool), then visit a small local orphanage that is home to 7 kids only, and perhaps may qualify for a small GO grant in the future, maybe one to help them provide food and generate income.  At the very least they’ll have a nice Boxing Day with cookies, juice and some new friends…