We are living such privileged lives! And while sitting in the garden of the village laughing and sipping a cup of tea with one of our beloved residents, the idea was born!

What if we can give back this year in a way that is stimulating and enriching for our residents. Just maybe I can encourage them to hand out sweeties to little children in a poor area not too far away. I suggested it to some of them, and they loved the idea. We started packing 200 plastic bags filled with sweets. It took us hours to sort the sweets, more hours to get them into packets, and even more to tie them with colourful ribbons. It was easier thought than done!

Just to get our residents to sit at a table… Just to get them to put the sweets into packets instead of their mouths was not an easy task. As soon as a packet was filled, aunty Hannie will empty all the packets again, and aunty Dorothy will get highly upset with her! Dear Jantje took hours to tie a ribbon and kept on asking me to rather get another job to do! Aree, sat there moaning all the time, “I don’t know what to do, I don’t wanna do this!” But she was almost the only one still getting it right. And then we had the spectators and commentators, who didn’t want to do it, but told us, what a horrible job we were doing, and they could do it better! And of course our hoarder, Beatty, grabbed as much of the packets she could carry in her thin arms and disappeared in the garden! But no matter the comical struggle, our residents were getting the quality stimulation they need.

And at last the job was done and the baskets were filled with sweetie packets and we were ready for tomorrow!

Tomorrow came and I was excited! But no one remembered!

We had breakfast and didn’t even bother to try and remind them. It just didn’t exist in their minds anymore.

But we were determined and we had little ones waiting!

We packed the village bus, and off we went!

Aree sat next to me, and kept on telling me, how dirty it is over here, and why can’t they clean everything up, and poor John followed me in the car with more residents, only to make an emergency stop, to get a car sick person some fresh air! And Jantje kept on asking me every two minutes where are we going again? And I wondered… ‘What am I doing here? Wasn’t it easier to just stay at Home?’

It is not possible to take all the people with, not because they are too many, but because some of them can’t function mentally outside the secure routine of our village anymore. This is where they are safe, this is what they know, the world outside doesn’t exist anymore.

But anyway, we were off!!


To our delight a large crowd of children was waiting for the Santa from Jura to hand out sweeties!

We got off the bus, and the little ones were holding their hands….

Aunty Dorothy loved every minute of bending her osteoporotic body down into the basket to get a packet. She loved the little hands and filled them with sweet packets. Jantje had joy watching the little people, and tried to tell us her story (the one we know off by heart by now) in the Red Cross Hospital caring for little ones, but the laughter of small voices took her story away….


I tried to get the others involved in handing out packets. I placed a packet in Lolla’s hand, and showed her a little girl anxiously waiting her turn.

The little hands were stretching out trying to take the packet, but Lolla was hanging on for dear life! “No, leave it alone, it is mine!!!” Lolla got her packet and the little girl…. we gave her a different packet.


And dear George. He had difficulty understanding what we were doing, and only when I explained it again and again would he get a packet to hand out! I succeeded to get him to hand out a couple…


But too soon the baskets were empty…

And I so wished Jesus was with us today, to keep on filling our baskets with sweets, because so many little hands were not filled today!

But as we drove off, to stop for an ice cream along the way, we knew that come the next Christmas and we’ll be back, with loads and loads of sweets. Next time there will be no empty hands returning home.

Jura Christmas blessings to all, may your baskets be filled with sweeties for 2017!!