Merry Christmas, and best wishes for 2012

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By Francis Moran

As is often the case at this time of year, I am reminded of the tiny mission church pictured here. It is located in Roma, a rural village in Lesotho, a tiny country in southern Africa. Besides being the gateway to Lesotho’s majestic mountainous highlands, Roma is also home to both a long-standing Roman Catholic mission and the country’s national university.

And it’s where my family and I celebrated Christmas in 1968.

Less than two months earlier, we had landed in Lesotho, which would be our home for the next four years. We were living in a grotty little hotel in the capital city of Maseru while waiting for a house and so for Christmas that first year, we went to Roma, about an hour’s drive away, to spend the holiday with an aunt who was both a missionary nun and a professor of physics at the university.

As was the case in 1968, this little mission church will be packed to the rafters on Christmas Eve as hundreds of people in this predominately Catholic country celebrate one of that religion’s most holy days. Afterwards, they will gather in the church hall where tables groaning under the weight of food prepared by the nuns for weeks in advance will disappear in no time at all into carrying bags to be brought home to supplement what otherwise would be, for most, a sparse Christmas dinner.

The church was unchanged from what I remembered from my childhood more than 40 years ago, to what I found when I was in Roma just over a year ago and took this picture.

The same can’t be said for Roma or for the rest of Lesotho, with the most critical change over the past decades being the impact on this small country of the global HIV-AIDS epidemic. Lesotho has the unfortunate distinction of having one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the world. One result is that a brutal swath has been cut through an entire generation, leaving families of children to raise themselves or to be raised by aging grandmothers.

Those who follow this blog know that for more than five years now, we have been enthusiastic supporters of Help Lesotho, an Ottawa-based charity that works with orphans, at-risk youth and grandmothers through grassroots, community-based programs that are building a foundation for long-term and sustainable change. As we have for the past five years, we will be making a donation to Help Lesotho in lieu of sending cards or gift baskets to our clients, suppliers and friends.

As is also usually the case at this time of year, we will not be at work between Christmas and New Year’s Day. We will have posts up tomorrow and Friday but our blog will also take a holiday next week. I’d like to take this opportunity to wish a very merry Christmas and the very best of 2012 to all our readers, our clients and our friends in the technology communities in which we work.


One Comment »
  • Andrew Moizer

    December 21, 2011 1:26 pm

    sounds like a heck of a good way to apply the funds. We’d like to wish you and Linda a very Merry Christmas from all of us as well.


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