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Christmas in Kipkaren

January 16, 2014 by Diana Coombs

By Colleen Costigan, Professional Volunteer, Kipkaren, Kenya

I know Christmas was three weeks ago, but take a moment to think about what it looked like for you.  Did you have a Christmas tree?  A house full of decorations?  Presents galore?  Maybe even some snow?

Can you envision what Christmas is like in Kenya?  I couldn’t.  Until this year when I was fortunate enough be a part of the Empowering Lives’ celebration in Kipkaren, Kenya.  There was no tree.  Few decorations.  Zero presents.  And it was hotter than ever.  But it was a day rich with culture, fellowship, and fun.

The day started at 3 a.m. with the mamas and girls from the Kipkaren Children’s Home cooking chapatti (an authentic African favorite similar to a tortilla).  When you are cooking for four hundred plus people an early start is a must!

Making Chapti

Making Chapti

Who were the four hundred plus people?  The kids and staff from the Ilula and Kipkaren Children’s Homes plus friends and family in the community.  It is an annual tradition for the two Children’s Homes to come together to celebrate Christmas.

Panoramic photo

The celebration began with singing, dancing, and an outdoor church service where Don Rogers preached about the importance of Jesus in our lives and the significance of His birth.

Christmas day celebration

A bull was slaughtered for the celebratory Christmas meal in addition to authentic Kenya food:  chapati, potatoes, cabbage, and chai.  After lunch, the Ilula and Kipkaren Children’s Home gathered in the field for their annual soccer and volleyball competitions.

volleyball Christmas games

The day ended with the entire staff of ELI gathering on the field to reflect upon all God has done in and through the ELI community in Kenya.   Without a doubt, God is alive and active in the community and we are all excited to see what He has planned for the year ahead!

Happy New Year from Kenya!

ELI Christmas gathering

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Categories: Daily Life Empowering Lives Intern Voice Kenya Vulnerable Children