Family Christmas at JBFC

December 23, 2015 6:15 pm Published by

One of the few hard parts (for me, anyway!) about living in Tanzania is being away from my hometown of Portland, Maine during the holidays. Starting at around Thanksgiving and lasting until my birthday in early January, I am constantly filled with memories of homemade pies, decorating a Christmas tree while listening to “The Polar Express,” going to see the annual performance of “A Christmas Carol,” and, last but not least, SNOW!

While the faces of my JBFC family may be different than those faces back home, the messages woven through the traditions are the same: love and family.

In Maine, I am hard pressed to remember a Christmas day celebration with more than 20 people; at JBFC, we average between 60 and 70. In Maine, we can regularly expect a couple inches of snow and temperatures in the teens; in Tanzania, we hope for a drizzle and temperatures hover in the mid 70’s.
In Maine, my Dad bakes a pie; in Tanzania, Melinda bakes brownies. In Maine, four or five people mingle while preparing the feast; in Tanzania, our Form Four girls along with a dozen other helpers frantically prepare gravy, mashed potatoes, chicken, biscuits, and more for what seems like a full two weeks leading up to the 25th.
In Maine, we go to “ugly sweater parties;” in Tanzania, the girls wear Christmas themed dresses made by Ashli’s family. In Maine, we have Santa Claus; in Tanzania, we have “Dad” (Chris). In Maine, we sing Jingle Bells; in Tanzania, our Farm Manager turned Choir Teacher turned recent college returnee leads the girls’ choir in a rousing version of “Mambo Sawa Sawa (Everything is Okay, Okay).” 

As we get ready to celebrate another Christmas at JBFC (my third one here!), I have started to get accustomed to new memories and new traditions (along with memories of the old). JBFC operates on a day-to-day basis as a family and Christmas is no exception. While we all may come from vastly different families, from different places, and with different backgrounds, I have come to learn that Christmas at JBFC is a Christmas founded as much on love, family and tradition as anywhere in the world. It is a day where we all take a break from our busy lives- the girls from school and work and our staff from their daily duties- and we all come together and are reminded of how fortunate we are to be part of such a wonderful (and large!) family.

From our JBFC family to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Blogger Seth Diemond is JBFC’s Chief Operating Officer in Tanzania. This is his 3rd Christmas at JBFC.

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This post was written by Mainsprings