Monday, 3 January 2011

A moment of peace and joy

"Everyone is waiting on this special evening. Waiting for Santa Claus and for good things to come. And it is necessary to spend some time together in peace, joy and love... because even if Santa does not bring any gifts, often it is enough to have one such precious moment", says SOS co-worker Samy, who hosted a Christmas party for the children of the SOS Children’s Village in Santo on Christmas Eve.

Two girls at the christmas celebration in the SOS Children's Village Santo - Photo: Sophie Preisch
The community house was beautifully decorated, Samy was doing stand-up comedy, playing games and singing songs with the children. Boys and girls competed in dance contests, and the ones who were not chosen to dance on the stage just danced in the audience. For a few hours the kids were sharing a joyful time, older children looking after their younger siblings, former SOS-Children who already live by their own dropping by to say hello. "I always remember what Christmas meant to me as a child. I believed in Santa Claus and I still keep this picture in my mind. Having a good time at Christmas means a lot, especially this year. After a year full of crises, of the earthquake, of loss and destruction, of cholera and misery we need to get together in peace to prepare ourselves for a new year - one that will be better", says Samy looking back. He says his christmas wish was fulfilled: having a good time with the children.

Samy on stage celebrating with the children of the SOS Children’s Village in Santo with games, songs and dance competitions - Photo: Sophie Preisch

Just one day prior to that, Samy’s children’s choir "Image d’amour" was performing at a hospital, bringing joy and peace to some of those who had to spend Christmas in poor health. "I know we all had a tough year and I know that some of you are living in tents, but that won’t keep us from celebrating Christmas with a lot of faith", said 15-year old Rose Andre in her opening words for the show. 16 children of the SOS Children’s Village in Santo were singing and dancing and doing exactly what Samy referred to as the most important thing at christmas: offering a moment of joy.

"Image d'amour", the choir of SOS CV Santo, singing and dancing at a hospital in Port-au-Prince - Photo: Sophie Preisch

Some people clapped their hands as the group danced, others smiled. As the choir sang a slower song at the end of their show many patients could be seen crying. In their hands they held Christmas cards the children had made over the last months. Each card is unique, as SOS co-worker Bettina gave the children a space to do the crafts as well as paper, scissors and crayons - but left them the freedom of creating the cards after their own designs. The audience in the hospital appreciates the show says good-bye with a hearty applause and a big “Merci!”.

During the show of the choir many found a moment to reflect on this past year - Photo: Sophie Preisch
Behind the scenes, it had been quite an effort to bring this peaceful moment to the people in the hospital. The children sang and danced for months rehearsing for this show, they nervously waited in the SOS Children’s Village Santo in the morning until the right cars, the right keys and the right drivers were available at the same time, then rode for about two hours through the hot and dusty city, then waited patiently again when the car broke down half-way, and then again when the police stopped us a few minutes later... and they arrived at the hospital in a good mood, bringing joy to the people and then getting back on the car for another two-hour ride to return. I imagine Santa Claus to be somewhat like that: He also must suffer long, exhausting journeys and still arrives filled with joy and love for everyone.

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