Being away from home is tolerable 364 days out of the year, but there is one day when my heart longs for the comforts and familiarity of the place I grew up – December 25th.
Leading up to this day, I knew it would be hard to not decorate the seven trees in our house, attend Christmas Eve mass, watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” and open presents surrounded by the people I love.
It is not my first Christmas away, but it doesn’t make it easier. There really is no place like for the holidays.
However, home can be redefined.
Nine other volunteers and I met at one’s home, located in the beautiful mountains along the breathtaking Katse Dam. We bought Secret Santa gifts for each other, which I wrapped with notebook paper that I Christmasfied. We have spent the last two days cooking cookies, breads, chicken and other festive dishes and listening to only Christmas music. We watched holiday episodes of our favorite TV shows due to our lack of Christmas movies. And we even met a few of our friends at the taxi rank with candles and singing carols.
There is no snow and the sun is casting hot, dry rays. There is not a lit up tree and our meal is composed of the little ingredients we can find in our camp towns.
Yet, it is Christmas. We have all we need to celebrate – people we love and faith in the occasion. We come from different religious backgrounds and up bringings but none of that is at all of importance. We have each other, our family away from home. If I can’t be with my own flesh and blood, and I do wish I was, this family of volunteers in Lesotho is a great second choice.
Wherever you and whatever you are doing for the holiday, I pray you are surrounded by love and happiness. From the Kingdom of Lesotho, Merry Christmas.