• A Christmas feast to put yours to shame!

First of all Merry Christmas everyone! This is my fifth Christmas away from home, all of which have been so different from one another; integrating with different cultures, being in different countries and with different friends.
This year I got to share my Christmas Day with 106 children, 55 adults and rather a substantial amount of food…
My day started with meeting in the office at 9.30 and then giving three Canadians, who were here to help for the day, a tour of Baphumelele ending the tour in the kitchen where we helped to prepare the 51 tins of baked beans, 8 tins of tuna, 10 packets of pasta and butter 200 bread rolls. Whilst we were doing this, the braai’s (x3) were lit and then the cooking commenced.
With so many people to feed you can only imagine how much meat was here! Boerewors (Cumberland-style beef sausage) and chicken by the bucket load. After four rotations of the braai’s being full we were just about ready for the celebrations to begin. Slowly but surely the cluster house children filtered through singing, dancing and clapping all the way. Once they were all seated in the ‘art room’ (using all floor space available!) a new group of visitors started dishing out their offerings for Christmas lunch; spiced chicken rice; and large portions they were too! I was wondering how we would manage to eat any of the food which we prepared earlier … I was soon to learn that children’s stomachs are bottomless pits and can in fact keep being filled … CONTINUOUSLY … for hours.
Once these plates were finished it was hot dog time; mustard and ketchup all over hands and clothes, faces being splattered in the haste to eat the scrumptious food! With only a couple of drinks spillages I think we got off lightly; hardly any crumbs and no food fights (more than can be said for some Christmas parties at home)! Time for dessert yet? Not likely! The next dish to be served was being hindered by the frantic gusts of wind which flew in to try and tip the paper plates off helpers’ hands. The aforementioned paper plates should theoretically have been weighed down by the generous pile of rice salad, tuna pasta salad, spiced beans and chicken wings BUT, this is the Southeaster wind and it has a mean temperament! Surprisingly only one person managed to get a front full of food therefore I would deem the waitressing as a big success! Three hours later, a lot of food consumed and dancing and singing continuing throughout, it was finally time for dessert; a fantastic display of illuminous cupcakes which were so light I am sure they won’t stay a minute on the hips…!
It was such a fantastic day with all of the children so happy and excited, all of the adults singing and laughing and hugs all round too.
Some of the left over food was distributed to staff, cluster houses and the kitchen for serving another day. Needless to say, I seem to have the traditional amount of food for Boxing Day but I am not quite sure it will all be finished before the New Year!
I have been so lucky to be a part of this wonderful day at Baphumelele and for everyone accepting me so fondly, taking me in as one of their family.
Now it is time to slump on the sofa in typical Christmas Day fashion and contemplate what to eat next! Merry Christmas again and if yours has been half as fulfilling as mine then you will have had a unique day too.

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