This Christmas was quite a bit different than what we’re used to back in the States. About a week before Christmas all of the kids in the compound were split into two groups. One group was to go shopping on Tuesday and the other was to go on Wednesday. Each child was given a budget of about 20 US dollars to buy a “Christmas outfit”.
Our family (the Joneses) went seperate from the orphans, with our own parents. The huge shopping market was in Monrovia in a place called Waterside. All of the Jones kids got 20 dollars just like the rest of the kids. We followed my dad into the market and just started walking around as a group until what we saw what we wanted. I was looking for a new church outfit, a pair of jeans and a short sleaved collared shirt (because it is so dang hot in our church building). After we were all done getting what we needed/wanted and took a drive in three-wheeled carts around the city and got some food, we got back in the truck and went back to the compound.
No one was allowed to wear their “Christmas clothes” until Christmas day, so my mom packed them away. This year Christmas was on a Sunday so every one just went about their Sabbath day as usual. But then on Monday, when Christmas was observed, it was a party all day. Loud music, dancing, good food and every one wearing their Christmas outfit. The whole village was allowed in the compound and every one had their outfit on to see and be seen.
It was really fun to be able to have the opportunity to experience what Christmas is like one the other side of the world. It was good to be able to focus on the real meaning of Christmas without all of the presents, the trees, and usual music.