Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Santa Under Arrest?

Tis the season—the season for anyone with a long white beard and a bit of heft to get asked to play Santa Claus. After my debut as Santa last year at my village's Christmas party, I got my first invitation this year to take my act on the road. Actually, about five and a half miles up the crooked road that runs up the Atlantic coast. One of the members of the newest class of Peace Corps Volunteers works at a school north of me, and he and his principal conspired to have me play Santa Claus for their school's Christmas party on Sunday evening.

The Santa Claus outfit I used last year was not available, but I was able to borrow a hat. Wearing a red shirt and a pair of white shorts, it was decided that I would be “Santa on a last minute vacation in the Caribbean.” After all, that heavy outfit he wears on Christmas Eve is way too hot to put on down here.

Best of all, they arranged for the local police officer to pick me up in my village and deliver me to the school party in the police car (which is actually a truck here). The policeman even turned on the flashing lights to impress the school children, as shown in the photo below when I arrived.

Immediately the children gathered around me, and I tried to talk to each of them. Some of them wanted to touch my beard, which of course I allowed. You can see the front of the primary school (painted dark green) in the background of the photo below. The event took place at dusk along the road out front.
I was encouraged to take a seat off to the side while some of the school classes made there way up front to sing the Christmas songs that each class had rehearsed. This one small boy came over and just wanted to stand with me during the singing.
Then, they had me sit in a chair next to their Christmas tree. Prior to the event, all the student's parents had been asked to bring a gift labeled for their child for Santa to give out at the school Christmas party. A teacher would read the name for each gift into the microphone (visible behind me in the picture below), and then the students would come up front to get their gift (and to get their picture taken with Santa Claus).
All in all, it was a fun evening! Since I was not well known in this village, I think the children were surprised to see a Santa appear who looked somewhat similar to pictures they have seen. Hopefully, I helped to spread a little joy that evening. Best of all, I had a fun time riding in the police vehicle. However, I hope it is the only manner in which I am ever picked up by the police!

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