In Celebration of Christmas, we sang, danced and feasted woes away

For the average child, and particularly those in the Western World, Christmas is that time of year when the cities are lit with holiday cheer – lights, music and Santa’s gifts galore – and when a Wish List is met. It is a time when parents spoil their children and make up for lengthy hours at work; when grandparents stretch thin to prove their love.

These children are the lucky ones. They’d be the envy of our children…but they’re not.

“We wait all year for Christmas!” our orphans have exclaimed, “our dance moves win us money!”

Please enjoy our pictures.

Ever since we started our annual celebrations, we’ve woven in a dance competition so steep it virtually rivals the “Who’s Got Talent” show. Broken into three tiers: Ages 5-10, 11-15 and 16-18 for the children, the event is a production that boasts dust, sweat and the kind of gyration resevered only for the skilled.

“Akae!” or “Atoke!” the crowds scream in judgement. Like at New York’s Apollo the contestants here are retained are voted off based on talent and yes, let’s be honest, their sheer popularity. The wise lobby beforehand. If only for the fun and prize such campaigns are necessary.

Then the battle heats up as the stage changes and transforms itself into the battle of geriatrics. Not to be left out (or deprived the chance to dance and possibly cash in, the grandmothers and the elderly men take center stage. No mention of hip ailments or bad backs here; with the children both squealing and cheering, the crowds are treated to versions of kilumi (the local dance) choreographed to Hip Hop, Reggae and Soukous. “She’s landing in the hospital!” Ngunu Muiku, an audience member remarks as he points to a contestant. All spirits are light and hearts jovial. If only for a day.

The community then eats, as it did on this day and opens space for the children to speak and share whatever they wish. Most opt for poems about HIV/AIDS, their lost parents, the value of education…and Twana Twitu.

Have you ever wondered what your child’s life would be if they were suddenly robbed of you and their entire support system?

Have you thought about your goals for this year, how blessed you are and how meaningful it would be to start it off by blessing others particularly the less fortunate? Those with nothing material but everything in terms of dreams, aspirations and work ethic?

It is true that we celebrated Christmas with all our hearts. And it is also true that on this day we prayed deeply for you – the person reading this message – that you’d be touched by what we do and that this year, you’d become our blessing.

Please reach out to and support a needy Twana Twitu child.

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