I love the festive feel of this time of year ... although admittedly in Dodoma you really have to work hard to get it! I love the opportunity to spoil people with gifts, meals and fun times. I love being able to connect with more people that you would at other times of the year through cards and chances to meet up and celebrate. I love the reason behind it all!
As a family we haven't sent out Christmas cards for a while, what with moving last year and other reasons in previous years, it hasn't been something we have been able to achieve. This year though, I took the advantage of the cheap Tanzanian postage (to post to the UK from here is cheaper than posting a second class letter within the British Isles!) and had an absolute ball writing several hundred cards! Even Mark thinks I'm a little bit crazy but he loves me anyway!
Yes, I'm totally mad but I love it for lots of reasons ... here are just a few!
Firstly, we wouldn't be here, doing what we're doing without the backing, prayers and support of family, friends, churches and even some people who are complete strangers to us, who all make it possible. We don't take that support for granted and wanted to show our appreciation, even if it is in a very small way.
Secondly, while we're so far from home and haven't been able to catch up with people properly for several years now, it is just a small way to keep the connection going. As I write each piece of snail mail we send, small happy memories flash through my mind of times we have spent together with each and every person!
Thirdly, with each card I write, I usually pray for the recipients. Not in a 'holier than thou' way but it's just a chance to remember each person and their current situation and to bring them before someone who cares SO much about them! We are so regularly prayed for by others, it's a chance to return the favour!
Fourthly, however modern and high-tech our world is becoming, I'm definitely of the opinion that there's nothing better than receiving snail mail however old-fashioned that might seem. It always puts a smile on my face and I like being able to put smiles on the faces of others too, even if it is more time consuming and needs to be budgeted for!
The frustrating thing with sending post from Dodoma is that a certain percentage of letters are almost guaranteed not to get through but it isn't a reason for me not to try! If you know us or support us, sometime in the next few weeks or months (or maybe even already) you should receive some mail from Tanzania. If you don't, we either don't have an address or it was one of the unlucky cards that didn't get through. Know that we care about you anyway and/or get in touch with your contact details!