As we countdown to Christmas, be inspired by our free online advent calendar.
Behind each door you’ll discover inspirational stories, fun and festive activities, as well as learn more about Christmas traditions around the world.
The HHA Advent Calendar is the perfect way to take 5 minutes out of your busy day to escape the commercialism of Christmas and to connect deeper with HHA-supported families and communities across the world.
RECIPE FROM UGANDA
Luwombo is a traditional Ugandan recipe. It is both a royal dish and a fairly common dish cooked especially during the holidays and can be prepared with beef, chicken, pork or goat (a very popular meat in Africa). Want to get stuck in? Here’s how to make it:
• 2 lb beef , diced
• 1 cup unsalted peanuts , ground
• 2 onions , chopped
• 4 tomatoes , chopped (or 1 (14 oz) can of crushed tomatoes)
• 1 cube chicken bouillon
• 1 cup mushrooms , sliced
• 1 piece smoked fish , or smoked meat (optional)
• Banana leaves
• 6 plantains
1. Sauté the meat in a lightly oiled pan until browned on all sides. Set aside.
2. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan, then add the onions and cook for 2 minutes before adding the tomatoes, chicken bouillon cube, salt, pepper, peanuts, mushrooms and smoked fish (or smoked meat ). If necessary, add a little water to form a smooth sauce. Simmer for 8-10 minutes. Add meat and mix.
3. Cut banana leaves to form 10-inch wide rectangles. Remove the mid rib. Place the banana leaves above of a fire for a few seconds to soften. Then rinse with water.
4. Place a portion of the meat mixture in the centre of a leaf. Fold the leaf on the sides, then fold the other two ends to form a small pouch. Tie with a string then repeat with the operation with the rest of the mixture.
5. Place a rack in the bottom of a large pot and add water to the bottom. Place the pouches on top of the rack and cover.
6. Add the plantains over in the pan. Bring to a boil and steam for at least two hours.
7. Take plantains out of the pot and mash with a fork.
8. Serve luwombo with mashed plantains.
STORIES OF HOPE: NICU
This year, our NICU unit celebrated its 9th anniversary and the team celebrated this fantastic milestone with some well-deserved cake and bubbles. Even after 9 years, the situation across Haiti for mothers and babies is still often more painful than we could imagine. Yet, your support is generating great hope for many communities, and providing a new opportunity for many thousands of women and babies in the future to receive the support, love and care they require.
In April 2020, a mother-of-two came into HCBH at around 2am with severe lower stomach pains and minor bleeding. Overcome with worry about this bleeding whilst pregnant, a specialist nurse was called to assist the young woman. This nurse had faced situations like this before, and she immediately attended to the mother and started the procedure to get the baby out whilst it was still safe to do so. After calling for help from additional healthcare care professionals on duty, the team managed to stop the bleeding and deliver the baby safely. After many hours of stress and worry, the new Mum (to a baby girl) said she felt 'relieved and blessed to have a new born amongst the family. Thank you HCBH and maternity nurses'.
We can't explain how grateful we are that you continue to support us, so that we can share life-saving stories like this and keep these vital services available to HCBH.
We hope this update will inspire you, and remind you of the real difference you have made to mothers and babies in some of the poorest communities in Haiti. Here's to the next 9 years!
CHRISTMAS TRADITONS IN HAITI
When it comes to Christmas we each have our own family traditions, and the countries where HHA works are no exception. Here’s a small insight into how HHA-supported families celebrate Christmas around Haiti…
At the beginning of December (usually from the 1st), Haitians start looking for Christmas Trees. They might cut pine branches or go to the market and get trees brought from the mountains. The trees are decorated with bright ornaments and a nativity scene at the bottom of the tree - sometimes the trees and scenes take up a lot of the living room! Churches and other organisations also have trees on display outside their buildings (with artificial trees also very common as they last longer!) on Christmas Eve, children place their newly cleaned shoes, filled with straw under the tree on the porch. They hope that Santa (called 'Tonton Nwèl') will remove the straw and put presents in and around the shoes. Traditionally, Haitians will go to a midnight mass church service and then come home to participate in a meal called ‘reveillon’ (meaning ‘to wake up’). This meal normally starts in the early hours of Christmas morning and lasts until sunrise. Christmas Day is much quieter with most sleeping off the celebrations of the night before! However, there will be plenty more eating and playing with the toys from Tonton Nwèl.
In Haiti they say ‘Jwaye Nowe’ which means ‘Happy Christmas’ in Creole/Haitian. French is also commonly spoken in Haiti where they would say 'Joyeux Noël'.
STORIES OF HOPE: WHEELCHAIRS
This summer, our incredible local partners, For You Haiti, gave this young lad a brand new wheelchair from our HHA Walkabout Wheelchair Distribution Centre that we built together with Walkabout Foundation.
At a young age, he was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy and AIDS (both of which are progressive). About 5 years ago he lost the ability to walk and has been dependent on a wheelchair ever since. Then in 2020, the footrests and breaks on his wheelchair broke which led to his feet getting Plantar Flexion (a movement in which the top of your foot points away from your leg). He was beyond excited when our partners showed up with a new chair which he has been praying for for months. He says his new chair is way more comfortable and also supports his legs and feet well.
Just look how happy he is! We look forward to continuing our partnership with For You Haiti and Walkabout Foundation and changing many more lives throughout 2022.
meet our new disability team
After months of construction and hard work, our New Hope Bidibidi Rehabilitation Centre is almost ready to be opened! We are most grateful for our partnership with SwissLimbs on this project, in which this centre will provide holistic services to people in Bidibidi living with disabilities, residing both there and in surrounding settlements.
We are pleased to introduce the talented new team who will be staffing our centre!
IT'S GIVEAWAY TIME!
Today we would LOVE to give something back to you - our supporters!
In collaboration with the amazing artist Hope and Ginger we are going to give away a Christmas Tea Towel to TWO winners! This festive tea towel will make a wonderful addition to any kitchen this Christmas. It has been screen-printed with a hand drawn paper cut style design featuring the words of Isaiah 9:6 - His name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Want to win this festive gift? All you have to do to enter is:⠀
1) Like our Facebook or Instagram post
2) Follow us and Hope and Ginger
3) Tag your friends (as many as you like, one tag = one entry!)⠀
UK only. Winners will be announced on our stories on 15th December ⠀
Thanks for entering!
This giveaway is in no way affiliated with or endorsed by Instagram.
HHA'S FAVOURITE FESTIVE TUNES
Unlike any other music genre, Christmas songs never seem to get old. Every December (or November for some…!) we guiltlessly wheel them out. The HHA team particularly enjoy singing and playing along to festive favourites.
But what are the greatest Christmas songs of all time? As a gift to you, the HHA team have assembled their festive favourites into a Spotify playlist to get your Christmas senses tingling.
Start listening here:
STORIES OF HOPE: REHAB
From 'back of the net' to becoming bed bound... ⚽♿
Meet M, a soccer player from Bourne (North East Haiti). In 2019, M was in the Dominican Republic coming back from a soccer match and was in a car accident with 7 other people. 6 of these passengers tragically lost their lives, and M was the only one that survived the accident. When he woke up he was in a hospital in St. Domingue and couldn't feel or move anything from the waist down due to his spinal cord injury. He stayed in the hospital in the DR receiving medical treatment until February 2020 but then had to return to Haiti due to financial reasons. He heard about the Rehab Centre at HCBH (our partner hospital) from a friend who had been in a motor accident and came to the centre for therapy. M has been at our inpatient rehabilitation centre for 3 months now. He has numbness and tingling in his legs and very delayed reactions due to the severity of his injuries. With therapy, M is now independent with in bed mobility - able to transition from laying in bed to sitting up without assistance.
Thanks to your support, M is continuing to receive the very best treatment at HCBH and has recently received a new wheelchair! Our professional team continue to aid M and are currently working on being able to transfer from the bed to his wheelchair independently. Please continue to keep M in your thoughts and prayers as he continues his recovery journey 💙
Our favourite Bible verses for Christmas cards
As a Christmas gift for you, we've collected our favourite Christmas Bible verses to inspire you in whatever you are doing at this busy time. Whether you’re taking a moment to reflect in the lead up to Christmas day, or searching for verses for your Christmas cards, we hope these Christmas Bible verses will help you to celebrate the coming of Jesus into the world at this joyful time.
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). – Matthew 1:23
"In his name the nations will put their hope." - Matthew 12:15-22
"The Son radiates God's own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command..." - Hebrews 1:3
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” - John 1:5
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given...And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” - Isaiah 9:6-7
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. - Isaiah 61: 1
Still need to order your Christmas cards? Our brand new packs of cards this year have been designed by the incredible children that attend the Maison de Benediction, our respite centre for children with disabilities in Haiti. All our cards are 100% recyclable and 100% of the profits from every purchase goes towards helping provide health and disability care to the world's most vulnerable across Haiti and East Africa. Click here to order yours today!