December here is flying by. Homemade Christmas decorations are going up everywhere, supplies for endless and ridiculous amounts of cookies are being bought in the city, and in the missionary house you can almost always hear Josh Groban or Michael Bublé Christmas music playing. School is out—even winter school—and the kids can be found playing marbles at almost every house when they aren’t competing over best decorations. It’s certainly not a typical “white Christmas”, but I’ve lived in Florida for the last 8 or 9 years so it doesn’t really bother me too much. The cloudy and rainy weather here gives it a nice wintery touch, which is a little helpful for the others. If anyone’s started to feel homesick, it’s not long-lived seeing as there is so much to be done before La Noche Buena, or Christmas Eve.
There’s a tradition here that starts 10 days before Christmas called La Posada (Inn). Two people dress up as Mary and Joseph and go from house to house seeking refuge for the night. The rest follow them house to house and sing the Posada song. The first few reject them, all in song, and the final one lets everyone in to sing Spanish Christmas Carols, pray, reflect on a verse, and share a merienda (snack) typically of a baked good—doughnuts or sweet bread—and juice in a bag—a Honduran favorite. We do it here every day around 4:00, but it’s traditionally done in the evening. It’s a beautiful tradition to keep alive for the kids and to celebrate the coming of Christ. Each of the kids in the houses has a chance to dress up and it’s a great reminder of what we’re waiting for. Everyone is preparing for la Noche Buena.
As I said, school is out. That means all us teachers have the week off—sort of. Well, to give our middle school kids incentive during their 5 week tutoring sessions over their winter break, we created this star system. They get different things for certain amounts of stars received, but they all saved up during those 5 weeks and decided to buy a bibliocine and pizza (yep, pizza and a movie). Next time you teachers out there decide you want to take the easy way out and promise your kids pizza you can order up in 5 minutes and put on a movie, I hope you think about what we have to do down here just to get the pizza out in time and then give that delivery boy an extra tip.
It starts fairly early in the morning. I have to collect wood in the wheel barrow from the community pile and take it back to our fogon cooking area in front of the house. Then I take the wheel barrow back to house 5 and go to house 6 to borrow their machete. After that, I take the machete and slice some pieces of wood to make kindling (thanks to Patrick, because before that I had no idea what to do). From there, I have to form a little Lincoln log house inside the horno (clay oven) and the fogon (stove top) and stuff it with paper and finally light it. As the fire burns in the horno, we can start on the Pizza dough and let that rise for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, the salsina (sauce) can start cooking on the fogon as we grate the cheese. Once the dough has risen, we can flatten it out into a pan, or as many pans as we may need, add the salsina, cheese, and they’re ready to go! I just have to take out the burning wood from the horno and leave in some coals and we can set the first pan in. One problem with cooking on a fire heated horno is that the heat doesn’t stay strong or last nearly as long as a normal oven would. Our kids get creative though…
The pizza actually didn’t even turn out that burned either! We sat down to enjoy our work and watched Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Maybe I’ve been gone for too long and away from TV and movies, but that is much better than I remember it. If you haven’t seen it in a while, add that to your lazy day Christmas list.
From our little house to yours, the Farm of the Child wishes you
a Very Merry Christmas
a Joyful and Blessed New Year!
Easy (no rise) Pizza Crust
1 pakage of dry yeast (1 tbsp)
1 tsp of sugar
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 tsp of salt
1 cup of warm water
2 ½ cups of flour
1. Mix dry ingredients. Then add water in slowly.
2. Knead and let sit 10 minutes.
Servings: 11g. pizza
Servings (x2): 3 pizzas
Servings (x3): 5 pizzas
White Garlic Sauce
1. Sautee butter, garlic, and onion.
2. Add in other ingredients as desired.
3. Let simmer.
PS- Sorry for the late delivery! Internet has been out in town for a few weeks, but we’ve managed to find one place that got it working again! Thank for your patience.