Christmas Day 2008, the most impacting Christmas meal that I have ever had. This is a story that still makes me “tear up”. Here’s the blog I did on the next day.
“Last night was christmas eve in Australia, but the traditional Philipino Christmas is celebrate at 12 midnight christmas eve.
There was a small gathering planned in our prayer house, but before that I was just squatting out in the slum watching what various people were doing. Some were just sitting around having a drink with a few freinds, kids were playing, nearly everyone was letting off crackers or small fireworks of some sort, some women were still preparing a little food,
of people were out selling stuff and for alot of people it was just another night.
I was sitting in the darkness about 50 meters from the new playground that has just been built in a rubbish dump, it had rained that day, so we were back to mud, puddles and floods everywhere, so I had to be careful where I was squatting.
Then I wandered over to a group of people and took this picture…
It’s a family we know who are scavengers and they are having their christmas meal…
The father got permission to scavengenge from a local fast food outlets bins for Christmas, and so they have three big bags of rubbish which they are going through and sharing the scraps of food between the kids. While I was there they opened up a styrofoam container with chicken bones and a part of a hamburger crust in it. It was given to their little girl because the boy got the last bit of chicken they found. Some of the food is being unwrapped from serveettes, some is still in the packaging, sauce sachets are found and squeezed for that last drop of sauce, a plastic cup with the lid on it still has a mouth full of drink for someone. The family is not ashamed or shy, we know them and they just have to do this, it’s how they live…no one should have to live like this, but at least they can live like this, they can get food.
But the positive side is, they were all having christmas together and (for them) the actually had something special, three whole bags of rubbish, that this time would have more food in it than on other days and they really were happy. The kids were smiling and laughing, no one was arguing or fighting over the food, there was plenty for all of them.
If there was ever a picture or an event that really shows us what christmas is about, this was it for me as I sat by a fire, in a muddy rubbish dump, with two adults and three kids having christmas…what a world we live in. In all honesty, I really felt special, they were happy I was there, not embarassed or ashamed in anyway – it was sad, but at the same time it was great.
Christmas or not, life is about people. People being with people, people sharing things, enjoying each other, relaxed, happy around each other. No pretense, not trying to out do each other with lavish gifts or the best christmas event. Just happy together.“