Wednesday, December 24, 2014

“Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” — Oren Arnold

Because the British ruled Tanzania prior to 1962, the day after Christmas, “Boxing Day,” is also a national holiday here.  Since Christmas is on Thursday, then Friday is a holiday, followed by the weekend, it is a big, family holiday here.  We are giving all our workers Christmas bonuses and sending them home at noon today and won’t see most of them till next Monday.  The security guard has to be here so he gets double pay for working.  Since Karen and I are old, Juliana insists on coming in for about three hours every day, even Christmas.  She is more than a houseworker, she is almost like our grandmother and thinks we are pretty poor at cooking and cleaning (she's right).  We pay her extra, of course, and it is good that she comes, but we let her pick whether she wants to come in the morning or afternoon.  Each worker’s bonus is equal to two-weeks pay, so they are very thankful because they have to buy all the food for the family that shows up at their houses.  Today through Sunday, you will not be able to buy a chicken or eggs, so we stocked up in advance.  We couldn’t find a ham, but John found six pounds of ribs instead, so we will have a special Christmas meal.  We, like everyone else who lives here, do not give each other gifts on Christmas day—there is just too much need to spend that kind of money on ourselves.  Karen considers Sissie, our new Tibetan Terrier, to be her Christmas present.  That little dog just loves her and jumps into her lap even when she’s not expecting it.  We think she is a “thank you” note from God to Karen.  John has been getting several inexpensive computers called RasberryPi and has been doing exciting things with them for solar use in villages.  He created some really neat things with them with motion and light sensors for here and did a video he put on YouTube. Four men from the national phone company (TTCL) came in a company truck yesterday for him to show them personally what he had done after seeing the YouTube video.  One was from Moshi, one from Musoma, and two from Bunda.  They are planning to send John students from Moshi (the other side of Arusha) to come to learn as well.  John has done all this out of his head, trial and error, and is astonishing everyone.  Karen and I don’t understand it all, of course, but we were born during WWII.  He is even teaching Charlini, and she showed up at seven this morning to learn typing from a program he created.  Maybe Karen and I are here just so John can help make huge changes in technology.  Oh, and we are having orange sweet potatoes for Christmas dinner.  Karen's experiment is working well.  We are even sending the workers home with orange sweet potatoes today.  Tonight, we will watch “Polar Express” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” as part of our family tradition.  Christmas day will be quiet.  The acid treatment on the skin cancers all over my face will keep us from church tomorrow, but we will send our Christmas tithes over, so they will be happy.  Our three tithes are enough to run the church for six months.  We are happy here and pray that you find happiness in your heart and the peace that passes all understanding as we celebrate the birth of Christ.  God bless you, every one.
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