Christmas 2016

December 28, 2016 6:01 pm Published by
With the absence of Chris and his boys, many of the Class of 2015 graduates not being present, and several new faces taking part in their first festivities, Christmas at JBFC looked a little different this year! Chief Operating Officer in Tanzania, Seth Diemond, told us all about how the JBFC family celebrated the holidays this past week.


This year, Christmas celebrations were held at Papa’s. The girls did an amazing prayer on the lawn infront of Lake Victoria, which was led by our new Girls’ Government President, Vale. There were prayers, songs by the JBFC choir, and a chance for people to share what they are thankful for this year. Vale gave a speech about the best parts of 2016. Melinda, Paula, and I led a wonderful rendition of “Feliz Navidad” before Mzee Kitula and all the girls joined in. Mzee Kitula running up to us with his hands waving frantically in the air, and singing Spanish Christmas songs, are memories that will not be forgotten any time soon.

Papa’s itself was beautiful. The decorations committee, joined by Pili who finished a two-year long hospitality program, set up all the tables, table cloths, napkins, cutlery, etc. The girls brought benches from the girls’ home and set them up in front of the Christmas tree. The girls’ stockings were laid out on the bar and a table was set up under the bar for all of the food. One of our girls, Zai, said the scene was “amazing.”


This year we were able to harvest a Grevaria tree from our farm. Now, this might not sound too amazing but it actually is for a couple of reasons. First, Grevaria trees look pretty darn similar to your standard pine tree, which added to the Christmas feel and the general ambiance at Papa’s (we usually use a Mango tree). Second, it means that some of the first trees we planted when we implemented permaculture are “coming of age” for use. Disclaimer: no trees were harmed; it was cut in such a way to avoid imposing any pain on the tree and it was cut high enough to ensure that the tree will grow back!

Maggie and the tree committee chose the tree and with help from Emma, our driver, cut it down. They spent the afternoon making hand-made decorations including a star for the top.


As always, one of the highlights of the day was the food. Our Papa’s staff taught the girls how to make big, American style pancakes in the morning with sausages on the side. We slaughtered a hog and chickens from our farm and the girls, with the help of Emma and myself, spent the afternoon barbecuing ginger-lemon marinated meat. The girls and Papa’s staff made mashed potatoes, sauteed Kale, coleslaw, and garlic bread. Melinda made sugar cookies and Paula made macaroni and cheese.

The food was a major hit and the massive mountains of food on the littlest of girls’ plates spoke volumes. To top it all off, we had ice cream to go with the sugar cookies for dessert. After running out of cups for the ice cream, people started making ice cream sandwiches!


As always, gifts are a favorite part of anyone’s holidays. We started the afternoon with Melinda,

Paula, Carli, and I exchanging little gifts during lunch. After dinner, we had a short staff-appreciation segment for our managers and workers who helped with the Christmas party/attended as guests. This might have been everyone’s favorite part of the evening (especially Paula!) because each time we called a manager/worker up to collect a holiday card/holiday bonus, all of the girls began wildly cheering. The girls came up with a personalized cheer for each worker based on what they do for the campus. For example, when our Farm Manager, Edward, came up, the girls all chanted “EGGPLANT EGGPLANT EGGPLANT!” When our Head Matron, Mama Maggie, came up the girls all chanted “MAMA MAMA MAMA.” It was absolutely touching to see how excited and appreciative the girls were for our team and equally as amazing to see how much the support from the girls meant to the staff. It made the night.

We then handed out gifts to the girls starting with the stockings. The girls got a variety of items from photo albums (thanks Alyssa!), suckers, and math sets, to water-bottles and toiletry bags. Seeing the girls’ reactions to their gifts was Melinda’s highlight of the night. Everyone left happy, and extremely grateful, to say the least.

Seth Diemond is JBFC’s Chief Operating Office in Tanzania. 

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This post was written by Mainsprings