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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Does the Easter Bunny go to Africa?

Special Easter breakfast eggs.
Yesterday I was asked if we were going to have an Easter Egg hunt for our kids?  I spent some time thinking about that, and wondered if we should do it for the big kids living at Emseni or do one for the toddlers too?  Would we use chocolate in the 90F heat or would we have an infestation of ants by hiding candy?  But the question provoked more thought and a bigger discussion. 

Like any family we have to decide which religious holidays we are going to observe, and how we are going to celebrate them with our children.  Which icons will we use and which ones will we not include?  What traditions do we want to start and which ones are left behind?

For example, at Christmas, we have made the collective decision to not introduce Santa Claus or snowmen (we live in Africa) and we don’t decorate with snowflakes, icicles or reindeer.  We do decorate with stars, angels and a manager and we did decide to put up a Christmas tree for the children – a western tradition for sure, but one that we chose to include.

This week we have had to think through Easter and what we want to include for our children.  Thinking about the Easter Egg hunt I was puzzled as to how I would explain to our Caregivers why we would take nice candy and hide it in corners with dust and dirt.  What did the candy egg have to do with the death and resurrection of Jesus?  I could make the link between the eggs and new life, but I wasn’t sure I could explain the candy eggs and the rabbit.

My next step was to sit down with a few of our staff and ask how they were raised and what did most Swazi’s do for Easter.  I was told most of them spent four days in church (!), celebrating the resurrection of Christ.  Every family brings whatever food they can find, and together the women cook for the congregation while they sing songs of praise and worship.  I asked if there was candy involved or did a bunny rabbit make an appearance at any time, and I got a perplexed look. The answer was no, but everyone would enjoy a large plate of cooked maize (like grits) and with some stew on top, hopefully with a few pieces of grizzly meat to enjoy and chew on (the more fat and bone, the better!).

This weekend we will not be introducing the Easter bunny to our children, but we will be sharing the good news about why we celebrate Easter.  We will tell them about how Jesus died on the cross for our sins and then three days later he rose from the dead.  We will make special food (fun eggs that represent new life), have a special church service, play with bubbles, balloons and have lots of water games to stay cool (stay tuned for some cute photos tomorrow!).  

Afternoon snack on Easter
PLEASE do not think I am criticizing anyone who is doing an Easter egg hunt for their own children or handing out chocolate bunnies. I am only telling you what we are doing here, since we do have the opportunity to do it differently than we did for Spencer and Chloe.  

Thank you to all of you who have given this month to help us feed children in our community. If you haven’t spent your entire Easter budget yet, please consider buying the gift of food for the orphaned and vulnerable children of Swaziland.  You can purchase eggs (the perfect protein!), maize, sugar beans or even a goat and we will deliver them to our church partners to feed the children.

To donate in the US click here.

Or if you would like to shop for diapers and wipes for the babies at Project Canaan you can go to our Baby Registry by clicking here.

Happy Easter from our family to yours!

Live from Swaziland … Jesus is risen indeed!


PS - I added a fun "kid" photo since you read all the way to the end :)

A fun weekend for all!


  1. Many of our silly holiday traditions become exposed as silly when you explain them to a different culture.

  2. Many of our silly holiday traditions become exposed as silly when you explain them to a different culture.