It was a bit of a shock hearing the alarm go at 5.30 and struggling out of bed in the dark. Somehow we all managed to wash etc. and even grab a bit of breakfast before heading up the road to the cathedral dressed in our finery. Thomas met us and led us down to the second row of pews – thank goodness we didn’t have to sit on the platform. Thomas sat next to me and Canon Farsis sat in the middle of the pew and both translated when necessary. The singing and dancing was wonderful as always. The baptisms happened half way through the service, Noela and 25 other infants plus 7 adults. It was like a rugby scrum around the font, but I managed with Thomas’s help to get close to it and take some pictures. My only participation was to say Noela’s name at the right moment. Then we troupes back for a 40 minute sermon from a visiting evangelist. She was passionate, but according to Thomas, not very focussed and went on far too long. Certainly we were glad when she stopped. Communion followed and then we were released back into the community at about 10.30. Lots of hand shaking took place outside the cathedral and Thomas seemed very relieved that it had all gone well. Back home we had a much needed cup of tea and a rest from the audio system which is unbelievably loud.
I went on a walk along the escarpment again, and sat in the shade of a tree staring out over the incredible view. The sky was quite clear and the distant hills and green valleys stood out quite clearly. Crickets skittered around me and butterflies flittered about. If heaven is half as beautiful I shall not be disappointed!
Then we went to Noela’s christening party which was delightful. Everyone had to introduce themselves, then there was a wonderful meal of rice, plantain, peas in sauce and cabbage. Salad and watermelon were all piled on the plate as well. We tucked as we were hungry, but many of the other guests kept asking Thomas why we weren’t eating very much. Their plates were piled to overflowing. Fizzy drinks were served, the whole lot creating quite a combustible combination.
Then came the speeches. Thomas insisted that I speak and announce our gift to the family. I managed, with divine help I’m sure, to cobble something together and not burp half way through. Then cake was brought in and Noela, who was sound asleep by now had to cut it! Once this had been achieved, it was cut into pieces and put on toothpicks and Thomas and Christela popped pieces into our mouths. The cake was very different, but very good. Then presents were given and more speeches made. Throughout all this Thomas’s youngest sister acted as MC and organised the singing and dancing. Fortunately the sound system was not working ( disappointment all round), so all the music was live and very good it was too. We left about 6.00 o’clock and wre glad it was only a short walk back to our house. However we then had a string of visitors including John and Rose and their children.
By 9.00 we were shattered and hit the sack at about 9.00 as Dorothee and June started work the next day at 7.00. We had the luxury of a lie in. Our first meeting wasn’t until 9.30.