On Sunday, Marie had her Christmas play at church. It. Was. Awesome. After living here for so long, there are few things that make me stop and say, “Wow! That’s different.” I’ve gotten used to a lot of things. However. This is my first Christmas in Sierra Leone! This was my first Christmas play in Sierra Leone.
The director of the play was so sweet and wanted to make sure that Marie had a part so that she could mingle with the other kids and make some friends. Thus, she became “Innkeeper #1.” We were a little nervous about it because her lines were in Krio and she while she is improving, her Krio sounds…..well, like my Krio. We practiced her lines at home though (all 3 of them) and during the first practice, when she NAILED her lines, everyone erupted into cheering and started dancing around. So sweet. J
Practices were a bit of a challenge because “4 O’clock” doesn’t really mean “4 O’clock” as much as it means “sometime in the evening.” Half of the practices we ended up leaving because none of the other kids showed up. The assistant director explained that you have to go house to house to collect them, otherwise they will just be “playing too much.”
My biggest shock came during the dress rehearsal. They went through the entire play but instead of ending in the traditional way, they decided to go out with a bang with the ending scene being when King Herod ordered all children under 2 to be murdered. They had 4 older girls with young children in their laps. The soldiers burst onto the scene and ripped the young children from their laps, laid them on the ground and slit their throats. The mothers started wailing. End Play. Gives you that feel good Christmas feeling doesn't it?
I couldn’t believe what I was watching and Marie, who was sitting on my lap, turned around and asked why my mouth was open like that. Fortunately a discussion ensued and they decided that maybe they should cut it short because it was horrifying (my contribution) it was too long and the kids would get dirty if they laid on the ground while their throats were being cut (the assistant director’s contribution).
My favorite part was the awesome 3 person donkey they made. It was hilarious! “Mary” was an average sized girl but was tall and the rear 1/3 of the donkey (where she was sitting) yelled during every practice that “she’s big! She’s big!” Just what every teenage girl wants to hear.
While there were some differences, I was chuckling to myself on performance day when I saw all the phones come out to record the performance and all the proud parents getting up from their seats to get the perfect shot. Some things are the same in every culture. Merry Christmas!