Sunday, December 25, 2011

Noeli Nziza (Merry Christmas)

This year marks a milestone for me: my first Christmas not celebrated at home. Although I wish I could have been with my friends and family on this holiday, I’m happy that I had the chance to spend it with my boys in Rwanda. Many boys at the center went home this week to celebrate the holiday with their families. However, there are some boys at the center who cannot go home. Some are orphans, some have families that live in refugee camps in Uganda or Congo and are unable to accept them, and others simply don’t go home because the living situation cannot support them. 

I spent the day with the 40 boys who did not go home. It was almost like a regular day at the center. We played billiards, colored, watched movies and talked. The most exciting part of the day was lunch because it included meat and Fanta. Overall, it just seemed like a regular day.

If I’ve learned anything, it’s that Americans make a REALLY big deal out of Christmas. It’s supposed to be a day of family and friends and celebration together, but it has been built up to be more than that. Perhaps you feel a bit sad for me because my day wasn’t marked with presents underneath a Christmas tree. But what I’ve come to realize is there is no need to mark Christmas as a day more special than any other because every day in Rwanda is full of friends and families celebrating. There is always time for others. So just imagine the feeling we get on Christmas happening every single day. My Christmas in Rwanda doesn’t sound so bad after all, right?

Thanks so much for following my blog and adventures this year. And there’s still four months left of this amazing journey so stick around! And for everyone who purchased an item from the Amazon Wish List, thank you so much! The project has been so successful! The gifts for the boys will arrive on January 13th when Ally Bataille will join me in Rwanda.

Noeli Nziza to you and your family during this holiday. Blessings from Rwanda.


Aunt Jeannette said...

Greetings from Long Island,
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you in Rwanda. Enjoying your blogs.

Liz said...

Elena, you are amazing and you are having an amazing experience! I am so happy that you got to go back to Rwanda and share yourself again with these boys. What memories you will have and so will they!!! You are right about our Christmas. It is way too commericalized. The real meaning gets lost. Thank you for sharing with us. It reminds of how lucky we are. Enjoy your next four months and I will be following!!! Glad Ally is coming soon. I hope the two of you get to go on some adventures. Merry Christmas.

Ally Bataille said...

Elena, I am extremely jealous of you today. I am very grateful for everything I was able to do today, and the best part had absolutely nothing to do with the gifts. Sitting down together (all four of us finally) for some tasty lobster and then out for some night sledding. You hit the nail on the head with time as the issue we all face here. It's holidays like christmas and thanksgiving that get everyone together despite opposite schedules. That should be the most important part. Perhaps the gifts can be the cherry on top. I have very mixed feelings about this holiday and how it's portrayed these days. Especially after seeing the reactions of the kids from Jimmy Kimmel's terrible christmas present joke.

Tomorrow I am duct taping my hockey bag and soon I'll head over to your house to see how much stuff there is I can take with me!! I know there are some kids won't cry when they get underwear as a gift!!! Much love, see you SOON!!!

Merry Christmas!!

Anonymous said...

Great sentiments Elena! Love you.

Aunt Jeannette said...

I'm trying on my own to send you a message. The previous one Liz helped me to do. I've so much enjoyed reading your blogs about the students and trips and seeing the pictures. I pray for you and your children every day. God bless you and the kids.
Love, Aunt Jeannette

Fr. Bernie Bourgeois said...

Great blog, Elena! Sounds like you have found the true meaning of Christmas. Too bad it has to be thousands of miles from home! Know of my prayers for a happy and holy new year.