Christmas is pretty sparse in rural Ghana, it is truly the holiday that recognizes the birth of Christ, a holy day. In Ghana traditional Christmas observances revolve around large family gatherings, feasts, singing, and church services. Our women clients who sell produce and provisions are busy supplying customers with the ingredients for family meals. There is little of the commercialism that we experience in the U.S.  Ghana celebrates Christmas for 8 days. The majority of the population of Ghana is Christian, but of course there are other African religions such as Muslims. There is respect and free expression of all religions in Ghana. I arrived with a red suitcase (I bought at a second hand store in the U.S. for $5) to carry presents to Ghana for our staff and close friends. I referred to Santa Clause but there was little recognition until I started to describe the red suit, the bag of goodies. “Ohhhh” you are talking about Father Christmas!” As dinner was prepared at the Lodge, our friends and family arrived. Haruna, our taxi driver, translator, advisor and friend brought his family. Four beautiful children, the oldest is Emanuel, 9 then John 7, Lydia is 4 and baby Victoria. As you can see in our pictures, there was a Police Car for James who wants to be a policeman when he grows up (picture below) The buttons on top produce loud policy sirens! The look on his face as it came out of the suitcase was precious. I have never seen a child so surprised and happy! Emanuel is the oldest and he received a police car with remote controls. He was very excited but the full experience of the remote ability to move the vehicle around was not realized until the next day. Lydia received a teddy bear with a pink tutu. But then a pink dress with attached pink wings arrived. At first, Lydia did not realize the dress has special magic! I put the pink dress on over her clothes and suddenly Lydia transformed into Tinkerbell! Of course, Lydia did not recognize the Disney character…. she just thought she could FLY! Lydia wore the dress for the rest of the night! Her siblings kept a close eye on her to be sure she didn’t jump off the stairs or a ledge! (picture below) Baby Victoria received a little black Cabbage Patch baby. When I told Haruna it came with adoption papers, he looked surprised! He didn’t realize that he was adopting another baby into the family. Haruna’s children received a Leap Frog “first computer” to begin learning how to use computers. Emanuel already uses a computer at his private school but he could still see advantages in learning more. But James and Lydia will put this child’s computer to good use at home. (Haruna told me that his children are now able to attend private school because he is J2W’s personal taxi when we are in Ghana. He is very proud that he is able to provide his children a good education. Matthew received a book from Santa this year.

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