After celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Eve with the Wayana’s eight times, it remains very special for us that we can do this.
On Tuesday afternoon 24/12 the Christmas celebration started with the arrival of a number of canoes from other villages. A lot of work is done every year. This time ‘Joseph’ and ‘Mary’ had traveled with them. The Schleppi family, son of the former Aloekoe missionary, unexpectedly came to visit that morning and could enjoy the spectacle.
Father Helmut showed his children where he used to live. The day before we already received a visit from Anneke Kempeneers. She came from Maripasoula with the taxi boat and would stay until the beginning of 2020. We ate a Dutch Christmas dinner that tasted very good, also at 25 degrees.
Christmas in T-shirt and (short) pants / skirt but with church services and worship songs in Wayana. Seventy years ago these people did not yet know the gospel of a God who loves them and sent His son to earth to become human like us. They lived in fear of everything inexplicable in their lives. It touches our hearts to see how they look to the future with confidence because they know that God loves them and cares for them.
Friday December 27 Marijke and Hannekie came over for a short holiday. They work with the youth in Powakka, a traditionally Arowak community near Zanderij. We had a great time with them. Together we visited Anneke’s house in Maripasoula and were the first to come and visit and have a cup of coffee since she moved in last September (Isn’t this a typical Dutch thought?!). We prayed together for the Wayana youth and the Arowak youth and for each other. Very precious to experience the unity with each other.
Anneke Kempeneers, our youth worker, has coached a number of youth leaders to organize two youth evenings between Christmas and New Year. Great to see 3 Bible School students in action. In addition, she has found a young song leader willing to organize a volleyball tournament on December 30th. She has learned a lot again about living in another culture.
Up to 3 times she was asked what time the tournament would start: 9 a.m. Anneke and Marjolein were there at 9 o’clock, no youth around. At 10 o’clock the megaphone announced that the tournament would start. Still no youth and no tournament management. The first group came to report around half past ten. Eventually the first game started just after noon, in the heat of the day. Still learning…
The 6 groups have turned it into a real sporting event until 5 pm, loudly encouraged by the village community. All in all it was a successful event, but it is difficult to keep on waiting and not take the initiative. They are allowed to do it their way.
The turn of the year did not miss the oliebollen and apple flaps (another Dutch treat). Marijke and Hannekie brought icing sugar and apples from the city, so we enjoyed a delicious meal together. We like to honor some traditions.