Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Day Spent on Christmas

I was waken not by the alarm set on my mobile but by the missed call from my driver Anthony. He was already on the compound to pick me up as discussed the night before. Apparently the exhausting workdays had taken their toll and my body just won't let go of the comforting slumber. Realising that I only have 10 minutes to get spruced up, I jumped to my feet; the warm water washing all traces of laziness. For a person who usually spend 30 minutes in the shower, this is a feat. With a hair still damp I got into the car; "Merry Christmas, Anthony."

The car passed the usual heavy traffic-stricken road (still not familiar with the names since going around Accra always involves Anthony and his Chevy). The scenario, however, is somewhat different. It maybe due to the fact that I usually pass this road on a rush hour (yes, Africa has a fair share of this urban mayhem). Or maybe because I usually pass this road at night when I want to replenish my week's supply of survival from the nearest grocery. The scenario is different. The sun is up. A handful of vehicles (quite the opposite of Manila's holiday frenzy). I can see green and blue. And I can make out the peddlers' faces that seem to be on camouflage at dark. Apples, chocolates and other street delicacies tapped on the window waiting to be bought. But aside from these, smiles and St. Nick's hats were there on the other side. Like them I know I have to survive; at least emotionally. I felt lucky still. I don't have to endure the Sub-Saharan outdoors. But the smiles were there and there is a reason to smile about.

The Christ The King Church is about 20 minutes from my flat. I am still blessed because I can celebrate this day with the community. Imagine if I'm still in Georgia where there is only one Catholic Church and I live 400 kilometers from it. Imagine if I'm still in Brasil and have to nose-bleed hearing a Portuguese Mass. The Mass here is in English and there is somewhat Lion King-ishness with the music they sing and dance to. Maybe because of the drums. Maybe because of the way they sing. Maybe because of the claps and hand-raising. And it was infectious. Then there were the smiles again. It was a two-hour celebration; mostly singing. Towards the end there was a small presentation from the kids from Sunday School and it reminded me how people attribute Christmas to children. Indeed, we all need to be children again; without the world's corruption, without worldly burdens. Just children.

I thanked Anthony as he brought me back to the compound. I know he has his family to be with. As for me, I still have the rest of the day to spend. Several SMS's and YM messages/greetings (friends, thank you!). A bowl of spaghetti I prepared myself and sharing it with some of the Pinoys left here. A nap to fill some hours of deprived sleep. A movie I intend to watch weeks before. And then this blog.

So it has been a day.
Not fancy actually.
Like I said, it will just be me.
But you know what stands out from the things I did?

His two-hour birthday party.

GMT 0 Accra, Ghana

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