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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Christmas Gifts (11/13/08)

TITLE: Christmas Hampers – the other side of the story
By Josiah Kane
11/19/08


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“Christmas presents! We never get Christmas presents!” I exclaimed, completely shocked. “It's simply not done in this village! No one exchanges gifts at Christmas!

“Calm down, little one,” my mother soothed. “These are no ordinary Christmas presents. These were sent by the white peoples, as an act of kindness. They know that we are poor, and that we cannot afford Christmas presents, so they have sent us some. Your box is inside. Go see what you got!”

I staggered into the room, bewildered. The white people are nothing but trouble. First they raided our villages, stealing people as slaves. (That was a long time before I was born.) Next they built cities, scaring off all the kudus and other such antelope. Finally they invaded our village and insisted that we all go to 'church' and that it would grant us 'everlasting life'. A load of nonsense if you ask me. I think we were perfectly happy worshiping our ancestors' spirits. Now they send us Christmas presents? They must be poisoned of something like that! The white people never do anything helpful.

My box was in a corner. It literally was just a box, nothing like the flowery, nicely decorated boxes I had heard about. I lifted the lid. Inside was a bag of what looked like shiny, different coloured beads with see-through wrapping around them. There was also a packet of rice, which my drunken father would no doubt sell for some more beer, just like he would the pasta and beans that my box contained. In one corner was some sort of fluffy image of a lion. That just shows how contrary these white people are. First they try to stop me from worshiping the ancestors and make me go to church, and then they give me an idol! It makes no sense. The only remotely useful thing in the box was a bar of soap, which I shall enjoy using with my monthly bath.

I expect my family feels gratitude towards the white people, but I see no reason to. The soap was nice, but other than that I cannot see what there is to be thankful for. If this is what getting Christmas presents is like, I don't think I want one. In church they are holding a Christmas celebration. I think I will attend it, but only to tell the white people what I think of their presents. Who knows? Maybe I'll even have a nice time.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 11/20/08
Oooh, very thought-provoking, and I love that you left it open-ended.
Sharon Kane11/26/08
This shows great awareness of cross-cultural issues and the dangers of well-meaning but ill-informed aid. I'd have loved to have known how the church service went!
Clyde Blakely 12/15/08
Josiah, you did a nice job of presenting how "white peoples" are sometimes viewed with our often superior attitudes and lack of seeing other cultures as part of God's plan. For a young person to realize this AND on the mission field speaks volumes of your God understanding. You portrayed this well. God bless and keep writing.