01 02 03 Africa Expat Wives Club: A mixed Christmas bag 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

A mixed Christmas bag


It's Christmas season. We have a few more social engagements in our diary than usual. The sun is shining. We're all still buying gifts, school is winding down with carol concerts and christmas lunches laid on. But as these celebrations take place, I am aware there's been an awful lot of tragedy around us recently.

Last monday morning I arrived at the kindergarten to find one of the trusty caretakers looking extremely distressed. He had just heard that his wife had been killed in a road traffic accident involving a matatu. They have 4 kids. A mum at the same school lost her husband in a plane crash last month and a very nice fitness instructor at the local club lost his two year old daughter suddenly to pneumonia in November too. It makes your heart bleed. AND IT'S CHRISTMAS!

On another subject, I'm surprised to hear Caroline Mutoko on Kiss FM desperately urging people to spend, spend, spend on the radio every morning. I usually admire her so much, but this just seems pretty sick.
'Worry about January later! Even though you might not be able to afford it - go and spoil yourselves! You deserve it! You've been good this year!'
I know she has to honour her advertising commitments but really, it's not very 'credit crunch' is it? I have to switch channels when I hear her doing the nauseating hard sell.
'A seven piece leather sofa suite' 'a seven piece cotton duvet and bed set'. The last thing people need is more tat.

Talking of which, I plan to sort out all the redundant clothes that lurk in my cupboard and give them away this christmas. PLAN - is the operative word.... I have already given away a heap of kids t-shirts and trainers to the Turning Point Trust, but it's always easier turning out things that don't actually belong to you isn't it! My girls have not even noticed yet! I am slightly dreading the, 'Mum, where has my pink t-shirt gone?' or 'Mum, where have those really comfy trainers disappeared to?' when they finally are home on holiday.

I am ashamed to say that in my cupboard, gathering dust, are many clothes from the 1990s that have not been worn for more than ten years. There's nothing wrong with them. I just never wear them. In Kenya we are very lucky to find that recycling is easy. There's never a problem to find a new home for your no longer wanted things. We don't have to stomach the trauma of sticking good as new/mistake purchases into the huge recycling bins outside Tescos and wince when we think of them getting shredded.

Perhaps Caroline Mutoko should be advocating the turning-out and giving-away of stuff at Christmas instead of encouraging this senseless spending. Let the advertisers do their own ads and jingles instead of making the well-loved presenters wax lyrical on and on about their various products. In my view, it would be much more in the spirit of xmas 2009.

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