What a wonderful whirlwind of days here in Senahu and Seamay! Sunday with Church, visiting a couple of familys and showing the Christmas video, then helping with music in the afternoon. Monday morning early I got up and went looking for yeast to make my cinnamon rolls, asked at one of the bakeries where we normally buy bread, and they said they didn't have any. (that did seem a little strange!) Went on up to Corina's to help with her tamales and we worked a little on them, I left to go back looking for yeast. I stopped by Rosie's family's bread store and asked where to get it. Her mom said, "oh if you had called this morning I could have brought you some down!" That means her two little ones went with me up to where they bake the bread, and I definitely mean up another mountain! Whew! Afterwards took them back to the tienda and got to tend Rosie for a little bit while her mother tried to catch up with all of the customers she had walking in. Walking back home through the market I had my little penguins to hand out to kids, so much fun to watch the smiles. One of our other dear sisters in the market stopped me to give me tamales for Christmas.
When I got home we decided to get the benches and blankets up the mountain to our family because the nights have been cold. We asked our neighbor boys to help carry stuff up and up we hiked. Elder Spradlin started off with one bench over his back and head and the neighbor teenager with the other. Part way up Elder Spradlin mentioned he hoped he didn't have a heart attack over this. That point being taken, I stayed with the bench he was carrying and he went up helping with the other the rest of the way. The family then sent their children down to help carry the other bench up, and the rest of the blankets I was carrying. This is pretty straight up a dirt trail, and they live at the top of it, not exactly an easy hike without a load!
We then put together a small Christmas for another family with things we had collected, school supplies, colors, a ball, a dress, a jump rope, a couple of pillows and a small nativity. and got to take it to them. Since it was Christmas we gave out candy, pencils, stickers, pony tail holders and penguins throughout the day to a lot of the little kids - and a few adults. Each family we visited got a bag full of cookies I had made. It was so much fun! Normally here we don't give out things to people, because then it becomes very difficult with them asking for things, since this is such a poor community. One of the hardest things for us sometimes is knowing that we can only help fill a few needs for some of the people, when there are so many with very great need. But this was Christmas!
In the afternoon we were scheduled to go meet with one family in Seamay and go with them to their Brother to show our Christmas video to everyone. We are able to show it to everyone on the computer, so since it is battery charged we can do it without electricity, plus we have a good set of speakers. We got to the first family and had to stop for tamales they had made, then went to the next family and after the video were served more tamales. These are not little like stateside, Elder Spradlin guesses they weigh in at almost a pound each. Luckily we had a lot of walking to do afterwards.
Christmas Eve we helped with the music for a Branch Christmas Party, after that back to Corina's to eat one of the tamales we had made that morning. They then went with us to show another home to us that had invited us over, it was about 9:30 or 10 almost, but on Christmas Eve everyone stays up till at least Midnight. Luckily the last family offered us the tamales in such a way that we could politely say no, just leave our cookies and visit for a few minutes. Walking back home again we got home about 11:00 or 11:30 so stayed up to watch the Midnight fireworks, everyone was out celebrating so staying up was the easiest option!
Christmas Day I got up at 5am to make cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate for the Elders. They were supposed to be here at 8am, but ran late. Funny was when two older brothers, one freom the bakery that had given me the yeast, showed up at the door and told us they were here to eat the bread we had made. We invited them in, fed them and heard their amazing stories.
The brother said that when the missionaries first came to the Senahu area about 34 years ago he had seen and heard about them. He decided he wanted to hear what they had to say, so went looking for them on the streets. He went out to find them two days in a row, each time though he got nervous and went back home. His wife asked him why he hadn't found them yet, so on the third day he found them and asked them to come teach him and his family. At the time there was no bakery here, no white bread. One of the Elders, whose mom had a bakery stateside, taught him how to bake, and later another Elder taught him more recipes. His bakery has done well, and supported him, his family and his sons going on missions.
The Elders showed up for their cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate and we really enjoyed having them, after they left we prepared our chili dinner for the family up the hill. It was so great having them in our home! I had written the youngest two's names on plastic chairs we had gotten for each of the two smallest, when they realized their names were on the chairs and they went to sit down in them with such excitement!
When they had left and we cleared off the table Natalie skyped us so we left the floor for later and came in to visit with her and Justin. I went back out into the Dining room and a chicken had come in and was walking around eating the scraps off the floor! It was so funny!
One more visit to a lovely family in Seamay, of course with more tamales, and the end to an amazing day by talking with more of the kids over the internet.