11th Aug 2020 3:06:17 PM

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Easter 2012

Children of Fire is a multicultural multi-faith extended family of burns survivors, young volunteers, a small core of key people in the office, a big brother and Mama. It really is a family whose children come from far afield, but who remain a family regardless of distance and time. As the calendar year passes, there are many celebrations. Month after month there are birthdays - for children and adults. Cards are made, songs are sung, and despite our commitment to healthy living, there seems to be too much cake!

Similarly, religious and cultural festivals are observed and the stories and history that led to those festivals are explained. One of those festivals is Easter.

Many people phone up and make promises that are not kept. Too many to write down or to hold to account. A girl from a private school was going to come on Good Friday 2012 to hold an Easter Egg hunt, her mother said. She never came. People from a local university were going to bring "40 boxes" of eggs at the Easter weekend but they never came. We mostly don't tell the children about these promises because they have had too many broken promises in their lives.

And while for the few minutes we actually believe the promises too, we plan where we will take the imagined surplus - to the less-favoured hospitals like Tembisa or Leratong that do-gooders rarely visit - or to the children at Joe Slovo squatter camp five kilometres away - or even to the Jordan Old Age Home because children's charities are far more favoured than old people's charities. We are used to sharing and don't mind driving the extra 10 or 20 kilometres that is too far for other people "in the mood to do good".

And then, for our own children, we must be careful not to give away all their treats to others-in-need, on the false expectation that those phone calls will amount to tangible help. So they get an Easter Egg Hunt and they get to blow real hens' eggs and wash them and paint them and hang them on branches of Autumn foliage.

We explain why all the symbolism is to do with Spring but in the southern hemisphere, it is actually Autumn. We explain the "pagan" and the Christian rites. And let them enjoy the prettiness of the festivities as celebrated by many earlier generations in many different lands.

They are told the Christian story of Easter; the historical aspect that is known and the faith aspect that they can choose to believe if it is their faith.

They even listened to Oscar Wilde's story of The Selfish Giant and of the little boy with wounds in his palms and in his feet.

They hard boil eggs with German food dye and two tablespoons of vinegar to make the dye take, and rub them with fat to make them shine. They put them in a bowl or basket of nesting for a while before the urge to eat them takes over! And they bake Simnel cake from scratch with real almonds that they grind, making their own marzipan (none of that horrible "plastic-like" peanut marzipan here). They had Cape Malay pickled fish for Easter and learned about the traditions of fish eating at these religious times. And they make real hot cross buns from a recipe as well. So they ate and sang: "Hot Cross Buns, Hot Cross Buns, One a penny Two a penny, Hot Cross Buns. If you have no daughters, give them to your sons, One a penny, Two a penny, Hot Cross Buns."

This material is Copyright The Dorah Mokoena Charitable Trust and/or Children of Fire , 1998-2020.
Distribution or re-transmission of this material, excluding the Schools' Guide, is expressly forbidden without prior permission of the Trust.
For further information, email firechildren@icon.co.za