Thursday, December 13, 2012

13/12/12 Christmas at the Presidents Village

There’s like a smell of Christmas in the tropics!

Here in the Seychelles, it may not look like it given the lack of snow, warm milk and reindeers, but Christmas is in the air!

You probably remember our epic Olympic games a few weeks ago, and all our effort to raise some money for the President’s Village orphanage. Well this well earned money has finally been put to good use: Kate and Roya went on a little shopping trip in the white van and bought a present for every kid living at the President’s Village. Some of the older ones were part of the trip and could even choose their own present.

Meanwhile, on base, between our dives in the warm tropical waters crowded with multi-coloured fishes, we filled the kitchen with some cheery Christmas music, warmed up some tea, opened a pack of toffees and busied ourselves making glittery Christmas cards for the kids, just like we did when we were their own age! It was well fun and put us all in the mood for some holiday fun.

All that preparation led to our wonderful Christmas party, Sunday evening at the orphanage. We arrived there a little before six, wearing our fancy GVI T-shirts and bringing with us all our cards and presents. Tables were set up outside the houses, just besides the playground, balloons hanging between the palm trees. The kids slowly joined us around the tables, a little shy at first, as they are every time we meet, but we know now that this never lasts long. Soon the place was filled with chatter and laughter, flashes from all our stolen cameras in little greasy hands. We had some snacks and soft drinks, which is a real treat for us as well as the children, and soon we all gathered to give every kid their present and card. There was a great deal of excitement, but the little ones so well behaved they managed to wait until almost every one of them  got their package before starting ripping them open. They soon found out that almost everybody was getting a new pair of “savates” (=flip-flops) so some of them decided they preferred to play with the unopened package as a car… But in the end, everyone was happy with their new stuff, and we soon settled down for some delicious creole dinner, all mixed together with the kids who were still well excited and all required all our attention (except the teenage ones who all got brand new MP3 players and were busy listening to them).

Dinner over, the party reached its top with the dancing starting for the older ones, and with all the young ones running all over the place and climbing onto us and the trees to try and reach the balloons, which soon became ancient history, every single one of them being exploded between cries of laughter and a few tears.

In the middle of all this fuss, a little pink bubble remained peaceful: the bubble of cuddles and cooing around the latest arrival at the orphanage, 7 months-old .Cutest little thing on earth.

All of us ended up being well tired before the kids themselves, so much activity being out of habit for us oldies. We gathered a last time for a group picture and hugged everyone goodbye before hitting the road in our white van, tired but happy about our night.

Unfortunately, reality soon caught up with us as we arrived back at base: it was time to say goodbye to Kate, our dear member of staff, the one who made all this night happen, starting with organizing all the Olympic games and the fundraiser, and taking care of all the presents buying and wrapping and all the cards making. She also made our expedition a great deal of fun and shared crazy loud laughter, and she will be missed, even though our time here ends in less than six days now – can you believe it?