Saturday, December 31, 2011

My (Late) Xmas Message

When it was Xmas day where you are, it was December 15th  2004  in Ethiopia– and  December is the 4th month so the date was 15-04-04. Obviously therfore  nothing out of the ordinary was happening that day, and certainly there has been no counting down of the remaining shopping days to Xmas. I am glad to have missed all that ghastly commercialism that everyone professes to deplore, piously blabbering on about the true spirit of Xmas, when in spite of all that deploring and sanctimony, and not to mention how ghastly it is that we might have to pay more to save the world from the warming caused by our own pollution,  people still manage to find  obscene amounts of money  to spend on  Xmas presents and feasting. And if that wasn't enough in Australia they have Boxing Day Sales where I read the other day in the Sydney Morning Herald its estimated just over 14 billion will be spent in shops over the xmas and new year period, and in London on Boxing Day shoppers spent 50 million pounds!

Religion isn’t big in New Zealand or Australia and so, because its in Summer for most of us antipodeans Xmas is about getting presents and having time off work with family and apart from shopping - and spending 14 billion dollars- heading to the beach, swimming, fishing, sailing, recharging the batteries. Quite a few will make their annual token visit to Church, enjoy a bit of Carol singing then head home for a massive meal. The Ethiopian Orthodox Christians celebrate the Xmas season in a way that seems a bit more in keeping with the Christian story of birth in a cow shed, by fasting till lunch time every day for the month before, and when they do eat they avoid eggs milk and meat – I couldn’t persuade Moges to eat a lolly the other day because he thought milk or eggs might have been used to make it!  I keep telling him its time to get a new religion, and whenever I am asked about mine, and I tell them I don’t have one because  there is no such thing as a God like the one christians and muslims talk about, they think I am playing a huge joke on them and find it hilarious, and just about split their  sides laughing. Its amazing how easy it is to accept without question that something is an undeniable fact when nobody ever challenges it!  And should someone ever do that, well they have got to be kidding right? Notwithstanding the language barriers, I know it would be pointless to try and explain why I no longer believe in a god so I dont bother,- I just laugh along with them.

Xmas will be celebrated here at the end of next week, but Myrte and I decided to have our own western Xmas celebration anyway.As usual I left my Xmas Shopping to the last minute, forking out on a present for Myrte yesterday at the Market that set me back 60 cents. I thought to myself "Shes a good person, shes come way out here to help these poor people all at her own expense so hang the cost, go all out and get her something decent ". So I did but as there were no Xmas cards in the Market  I made her one.

The day started busily, with an emergency Caesarean but after that not much else happened at work, so after lunch we went to Shewayes home and the kids there watched the Lion King on Myrtes Laptop computer. We had popcorn, orange drink and Injera. The weather was beautifully warm during the day and there was no wind, but at night temperatures fall to about 8degreesCelsius. As the day ended we sat on our plastic chairs in the roughly cut long grass outside the flats and sipped  Sundowners that Myrte cleverly assembled from locally produced Spirits, mint, lemon sugar and ice – a Mochito! It was quite special to sit there as the sun went down and to watch the cattle and the sheep eating their piles of straw across the fence, the locals in their traditional dress going to and fro, a setting that  would only need a baby in a manger to make it the perfect Nativity Scene, and have you believe that maybe  Peace and Goodwill toward all mankind is possible after all.

After sunset, Myrte prepared a lovley soup, and then we had spicy fried chicken ( the last three pieces of the chook we killed about three weeks ago )  with boiled and herbed new potatoes - all beautifully prepared by Myrte - and boiled cabbage beautifully prepared by me. Lastly she made crepes - well we decided that was the closest description of them - with a  sweetened raisin and cinnamon filling. We worked out that our Xmas dinner had cost about $4.80, and the raisins had been the most expensive item. It was a Xmas Day to remember.

PS Apologies for the long delay in getting my Xmas post onto the Blog.  For some reason access to it, and to any other blogspots from my Computer is impossible, though I have no trouble accessing email or any other  website I want to. However I can access my blog  from Myrtes computer,  and I can still Post to the Blog but not view it., and uploading photos is impossible. Can anyone suggest why I cant get to my Blog from my own computer? (Ive already changed my Browser - to Chrome - deleted temporary Internet files, defragged the computer etc etc..

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