Of Drag Queen Angels, and a Beanie Baby Jesus.

My second year of STINT [better known as “STINT: The Remix”] has become my proverbial second child-thus, I have taken very few pictures. This week I worked to remedy that. Now, they say that a picture is worth a thousand words-and so today I’m going to let mine do most of the talking.

This is the finished product. Charlie Brown Mohammad Jose. Don’t you just love him?

Fatou Ba had Michelle and I over for lunch this week. The sweet girl made Tiebou Yoppe because she knows it’s my favorite.

Michelle with Fatou Ba [in pink] and the rest of the gang. We had a rousing conversation with her boyfriend regarding the minute little detail that he’s allowed to have four wives, and she’s only allowed to have one husband.

Commence the hilarity. :) On Friday, we hosted a Christmas party for aproximately 45 of our students. We played a number of different games, among which was “pin the star on the tree”. In a concerted effort to inspire our students to go green, we cut all of the stars out of old magazines. [On second thought, it may have had something to do with the fact that we didn’t have any normal paper. My memory is a bit hazy.]

I know I’m not supposed to have favorite-but if I did, Miriam would absolutely be one of them. I adore this girl.

Pin the star on the Christmas tree had multiple amusing outcomes, among which was the occasional star ending up on someone’s head…

We taught them some Christmas carols!

For the rest of my life,  I think I may tear up when I sing “God and sinners reconciled”. Don’t let that line slip by unnoticed this Christmas. Don’t let that line slip by unnoticed any Christmas.

“Emmanuel-God with us”. With you and me. How beautiful is that? What a vastly different idea from what these Muslim students believe-that Allah is distant and unconcerned with their lives.

Okay, this is where it gets good. We projected the Christmas story out of Luke onto the wall, and read it together. THEN, I asked for ten volunteers, who were given a bag of props and a couple of minutes to figure out how they were going to act the whole thing out.

While the Christmas story was read again, they filed into our crowded kitchen and performed a very ghetto-fabulous rendition of the story of Jesus’ birth. [A story that some of them had just heard for the very first time minutes earlier.] This is Mary…

…who looked slightly more like Bon Qui Qui. Here’s the unhappy couple being told that there was simply no room in the inn. For a moment there, I thought the innkeeper was so sorry for them that he was going to go ahead and find them a spare corner, effectively destroying the whole thing. Never fear-Martin stood strong, and kicked them to the curb stable.

Much to my great chagrin, Adama gave a very stirring, disturbing picture of the pain Mary must have endured during labor. Oh, yes.  As I stood in the corner wincing and breaking out in cold sweats, she sprawled out on the floor, huffed, puffed and groaned until a beanie baby Jesus popped out. With a very concerned Mohammad Joseph bracing her from behind and looking for all the world like an expectant Father.

And here we have our drag queen angel, who with incredible flair [and not a little bit of va-va-voom] announced the birth of the Messiah with all of the delicate poise of an overly-enthused drunken sailor.

Here we have one of the wisemen giving beanie baby Jesus His gift. What baby wants myrh when you can have light-up plastic snowman from Walmart?

The three wisemen. Er, wisepeople.

The greatest regret of my young life will forever be not getting that skit on video! On a serious note, as fun as it was, it was also a fantastic way to teach our students why we really celebrate Christmas.

Our next activity was a Charlie Brown dance-off. We selected five volunteers [read: I goaded five people into volunteering, two of whom were Ted and Michelle], showed them the clip of all the Peanuts characters dancing, and then the participants were instructed to pick one of the dances and mimic it. The closest immitation won-as measured by the  good old applause-o-meter.

Marie [pink zebra stripes] won. Michelle came in dead last. I think she wants a rematch.

As Forest Gump would say-that’s all I have to say about that.

Stay tuned for my next blog, tenatively titled “In Which I Visited the Senegalese Emergency Room.” Now there’s a good story! [And clearly, it all worked out in the end and I’m fine. There goes my cliff-hanger ending…]


  1. Thanks Ashley, it is great to see pictures. Sounds like your students will remember that party for ever. Great work. :)

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