Christmas in Dili

Christmas day began with the sound of heavy rain and Joris muttering about worstenbroodjes. The rain stuck around for most of the day but the boy soon accepted that this was going to be a Christmas without worstenbroodjes. We spent the morning on the couch, exerting little in the form of movement until it was time for the Orphan Christmas at the NZ Embassy. (At which point, the rain grew heavier and the wind wilder, drowning out the final cries of an animal being slaughtered, and thus holding us to the couch a little longer.)

The NZ Ambassador Jonathan and his wife Ann kindly hosted a Christmas party for those of us who hadn’t gone home to spend Christmas nor taken the opportunity to escape to Bali. There was ham and turkey and pudding and more than enough festive food to fill our stomaches. A special edition of Porch Night at Geoff’s the previous night had also made sure we were feeling more Christmasy than we planned. Geoff had coordinated Secret Santa and being conveniently next door to the church, we had our evening accompanied by carols and sermons. Though the inconvenience came at leaving time as the entire street had filled with people. We were amazed at their level of commitment and wondered just how much of the service they could hear on the other end of the street.

Christmas evening we went on a bike tour to see the colourfully lit nativity scenes (prezepiu) around Dili. Every year these are constructed in the weeks leading up to Christmas on the side of roads around many neighbourhoods. Apparently communities are asked to do so by the church and a competition is held to reward the best.

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