Monday, January 6, 2020

Joy to the World!

Anyone who has ever hosted a Christmas party knows it can be both joyous and exhausting. Manna 4 Lempira’s director, Kim Hall, recently got to experience at least five times the joy and five times the exhaustion when hosting five parties for the children in the program, on four consecutive days.

Parties were thrown for the children in the Mercedes, Betania, Quelacasque, and Tablon sponsorship centers. In case you’re checking my math (which is always a good practice!), you’ve probably realized that only adds up to four parties. The Hall family also hosted a party at their home for the children from Tablon who live in town, as well as for the neighborhood kids.

Like any fun party, these five events involved food, decorations, and games. Perhaps you’re not used to thinking of party food on such a grand scale. Luz Maria, who lives with the Hall family, and her sister made 1650 tamales for the festivities. For three days, the tamale-making duo made 450 tamales a day! On the fourth day, they got to take it easy by making only 300 tamales! All of this preparation took place in the Hall’s kitchen.

Cakes, sodas, plates, forks, and cups also had to be procured. These lived in the Hall’s basement in the days leading up to the parties. Each morning of a party, they would go to the basement and count out how many cakes and supplies were needed for that day.

Instead of giving out toys for Christmas presents, a new Bible was given to each child. The churches which house the feeding programs also received Christmas gifts - they were given plates and cups for the kids to use during the regular feeding events. Without these thoughtful gifts, the kids have to bring their own plates from home. The pastors and other volunteers were very thankful for the good quality plates and cups.

Each party involved games and prizes. Then it was time for the work of hosting to begin. There were tamales to unwrap, cakes to cut, and sodas to pour. There were also lots and lots of photos to take. Each child was photographed wearing some Christmas-y tinsel and/or reindeer antlers. Kim is not complaining, but her back is still feeling the effect of stooping down to take the adorable photos.

Getting to the locations was extra challenging. It hadn’t rained in two months until the days of the parties. During the dry season, the roads were “repaired”. The repairs amounted to putting a thick layer of fresh dirt on the roads. You may remember from school that dirt+rain=mud. There was so much mud that Kim had to pull over to let an experienced Honduran driver take over on a dangerous stretch of road.

In a sad postscript, one of the children, Jeison, had an accident the day after he attended a party. On Christmas morning, Jeison died from injuries he received falling from the back of a pickup truck. Just the Saturday before, he had been eating tamales and cake, playing games, and posing for a picture with tinsel around his neck. At the hospital, Jeison’s grandma told Kim that he arrived home from the party so excited and happy. Everyone is grateful that Jeison’s mother will have that final memory of Christmas joy.

When reflecting about the parties, Kim spoke of the joy, the work, and the heartache. She said, “The joy was there, but there were also other parts. I don’t think the first Christmas was all joyful either. Life here is not always happy, but there is joy.”

 - posted by Christi


tropicaldaze23 said...

So much work leading to so much happiness...THANK YOU!!!

Anonymous said...

Nice work Hall family and fellow volunteers! We are praying for all those impacted by Jeison's death.