In December, HPHA organized Christmas parties for the families involved in Habitat projects in Luján, La Matanza and Santa Fe. As in years past, Habitat Argentina embraced this chance to re-energize the relationships between our organization and the beneficiaries of our programs, as well as to honor the positive and loving Christian message of the holiday. Having everyone come together and celebrate as a community is always a great opportunity to reflect on the past year and look forward with renewed hope towards the exciting possibilities of the new year. For the families, no matter whether they are only just beginning their journey towards an adequate house or finishing their final touches, it is a reminder of the extended network of support that stands behind them: of committed HPHA staff, volunteers and board members, churches, community associations and neighbors.
The holiday parties were fun and vibrant affairs for all involved. In Luján and Santa Fe, families (and the many children who attended) received small gifts to help spread Christmas cheer. Pastor Miguel Monese, member of the board of directors, dear friend and longtime champion of the organization, participated in the event in Santa Fe. In Luján, the celebration was hosted by a Catholic parish and was animated by the members of the Baptist church, who brought instruments and provided live music at the party.
In a Catholic chapel in the neighborhood of 22 de Enero, outside of Buenos Aires in La Matanza, members of the Anglican Cathedral of Buenos Aires sang Christmas hymns, and the Rev. David George gave a beautiful Christmas reflection. The guests from the Anglican congregation also put together gift packages for the families – a traditional pan dulce (similar to fruitcake, this dessert is a must-have for the holidays in Argentina) and an assortment of Christmas candies. The families prepared traditional foods of their culture, like sopa paraguaya (many in the community are from Paraguay), to share and performed traditional dances. They also provided each Habitat volunteer in attendance with gift of pan dulce, made by eco-friendly local business Sol de Pan, a bakery that uses a solar oven and is owned by two families in the community.