Trustee Rebecca Cornish spent three years working as a physiotherapist at Kagando Hospital in Uganda, a remote, rural hospital near the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains. These are her recollections of Christmas in Africa:
Christmas at the hospital… Every year, there was a competition for the best decorated ward. The nurses all covered their wards with cotton wool to make Christmas snow scenes. This intrigued me, because the only snow in the area capped the peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains, so it's unlikely that anyone working at the hospital would have experienced snow under their feet, nor would it have been snowing at Jesus’ birth. Of course, they’d seen snow scenes snow scenes on the occasional Christmas card.
In Uganda, it is a Christmas tradition for everyone to get a new outfit as a gift.
On Christmas Eve, the local markets were buzzing. Cows and other animals were being slaughtered for people to buy meat for their Christmas feast.
We used to have a bring-and-share meal with our fellowship group, whose members were mainly expats like me, doctors and a few nurses. One year, one of the doctors brought his three-year old daughter. She knew that it was Jesus’ birthday and that meant two things: first, there would be cake; and second, Jesus should be there, at his birthday party. So when a doctor arrived who she didn't recognise, she excitedly ran up to him - with the question - are you Jesus?