Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas Jones Town

I could not genuinely say it to the kids today.

For what was really "merry" and where did they see the celebration of Christ?

On the night of Christmas Eve, there was yet another drive-by leaving at least 5 men shot and 1 dead. Gunshots rang out mid-morning Christmas day, as a police vehicle trying to make an intervention was turned back by the gunfire of heavier artillery. The streets had only a sprinkling of people but still an excess of garbage. As we walked down to the meeting place, the police jeep that was making a patrol through the area had their M-16s aimed at us....just in case.

So I continued to ponder what was really "merry" and what was "christmas" for them. They had no family dinner to attend. There was

no Christmas tree,

no Christmas decorations,

no Christmas lights,

no Christmas presents from Santa for any of them to open when they got back home and to top it off, there were no chestuts roasting on an open fire with no Nat King Cole singing Merry Christmas to you...

While we never thought we could bring Christmas to them, it was still our intention to share a drink of sorrel, some Christmas pudding and a Christmas card. We wanted to remind them that the spirit of Christmas was about sharing and showing love. (Thank you Coach Arrianne for your efforts)

So on this day, although the children did not program robots we tried to help them understand their greatest fear.
(incorrectly attributed to Mandela's inaugural speech of 1994 but nonetheless powerful words from Marrianne Williamson)

Our two female team members were absent today.

After the murder of her grandfather 2 weeks ago, one of our girls had to flee to an area outside of Kingston and has since found the commute more difficult. The other was afraid to walk on the road after the Christmas Eve drive-by and mid-morning gun battle.

We challenged the young boys present, to remember their responsibility of being male and to try to keep positive words in their minds.

We dared to make this session more powerful than the regular gun sessions and its 24 disciples.