On Christmas Eve, the 12 of us set out on foot to find an ice cream shop. Since I’d been here before, I knew there was Nutella flavored ice cream somewhere on this island, and we were going to find it! We walked for about 15-20 minutes into town, while Danny rode a bicycle due to a sore foot, and there, next to the town square, we found the treasure.
Out on the streets, people were excitedly shopping for their final gifts, the smell of food filled the air from taco stands and children laughed as they ran in between their parents legs while they gathered in groups to converse. A large Christmas tree stood tall in the square, with a beautiful Nativity to its side. These were happy sounds in beautiful surroundings.
As a family we decided that this would be a different Christmas than those we’d had in the past. Rather than focusing on physical gifts, we wanted to set aside gift exchange between us, and in its place, find humanitarian work to do, and focus on gifts of love for others. Online I found an orphanage close by, where we will go and help in any way we can. They have 35-40 children there, including some with special needs.
On Christmas morning I cooked everyone pancakes and bacon and prepared some fresh paw paw, and everyone loved it. Danny was especially excited for the bacon. After eating we took the creatures out and played in the water for a while. The current is so strong here, and at one point Danny had to go on a ‘rescue mission’ in the dinghy to tow a bunch of kids back to the marina.
I made a big potato salad and Emma baked a cake for the marina Christmas pot luck. Shad and Denise and their creatures joined us as we had quite the feast along with about 50 other people. Everyone mingled and enjoyed each others company, and finally with full bellies we lay on the trampoline and talked till after sunset.
(I have so many photos to share but my camera seems to be having some issues. )
The clouds were so beautiful. A thick, bright golden glow shone from them as they spread out above the starboard side of Tanda Malaika.
The creatures trickled in after a while, hinting about more ice cream, so we all made our way into town once again for round two.
Time came for goodbyes, and each of us gave Skyler an extra long hug. I whispered to her how much I love her through teary eyes, as did Jude, Emma and Mycah, and we walked back to our home talking about how much we miss her already. I loved spending that time with my sweet sister, Denise, and her awesome husband, Shad. We hope they will return to us soon so that we can sail the Eastern Caribbean together.