Christmas Celebrations Around the Foreign Service

At US Mission Bolivia — Santa Visits the Altiplano in Bolivia
Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.
Slideshow from US Embassy Bolivia/Flickr

On December 22, the wife and son of the U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, Liza and Carlos Creamer, visited the communities of Curahuara de Carangas, Lagunas, Rosapata, Lercos, and Sulla Uta Salla Collana to deliver hundreds of toys to the children of these communities.  This delivery was coordinated by Father Gabriel Antequera, Parish Priest of Curahura de Carangas.
Carlos Creamer, dressed as Santa Claus, handed out Panetones, dolls, toy trucks, soccer and volleyballs to the children of the communities that anxiously awaited his arrival.  Upon his arrival to each community, children, parents, and local authorities greeted him with “Bienvenido Papa Noel!”
At the US Embassy Montevideo, Uruguay – The Marines’ Toys for Tots
Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.
Slideshow from US Embassy Paraguay/Flickr

Infantes de Marina entregaron juguetes navideños a niños de Ceprodih En el marco del Programa internacional Toys for Tots, Juguetes para los pequeños
At US Mission Afghanistan – the USO Tour Lands at Embassy Kabul

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.
Slideshow from US Embassy Kabul/Flickr
The U.S. Embassy hosted the USO traveling Holiday Tour. The early morning show included performances by comics Robin Williams, Kathleen Madigan and Lewis Black, and music by Kix Brooks and Bob DiPiero. Athlete Lance Armstrong started the event by expressing gratitude for the work of the soldiers and civilians working in Afghanistan and spending the holidays away from their families to ensure freedom for Americans.
At the US Consulate General in Lahore, Pakistan – MasalaTV Thanksgiving Show
U.S. Consul General in Lahore, Carmela Conroy, and other U.S. diplomats are featured in a special one-hour Thanksgiving Day cooking program broadcast on Masala-TV on Saturday, December 25 at 1pm and 9pm, and on Sunday, December 26 at 10.30am. The program features host Samayra Khan and three American diplomats cooking traditional dishes served on this uniquely U.S. holiday. Here is one of them — no other than new media phenom Tristram Perry (formerly of Jakarta and now Lahore’s IO) who is making pie dough from scratch!

U.S. Consulate General Information Officer Tristram Perry and Sumayrah
making the dough for the pecan pie crust.
Photo from US ConGen Lahore/Facebook

More photos here TV teaser here.

At US Embassy Seoul – The Ambassador’s Open House

Photo from Ambassador Stephen’s blog
My residence is large, but cannot accommodate all our employees and families indoors at one time.  So instead, on December 18 I opened the house throughout the day to our guests.

I think this “open house” tradition is more American than Korean.  And I should explain that if you visit the United States and see a sign that says “open house” it means that sometime is trying to sell his house!  Real estate agents schedule a date and time when they open a house for potential buyers to stop by and have a look.  But I assure you we are not seeing Habib House in Seoul!  Instead our “open house” is the kind we often host at holidays, but also sometimes as a house-warming, graduation, or birthday.  The host invites friends, relatives and colleagues to celebrate the special occasion.  Even though many people attending might already know each other, sometimes guests meet for the first time during an open house.  This concept is a little different from the year end parties held in Korea, where many gatherings are held among different groups of people who already know each other through a common connection, such as high school friends, college alumni or office colleagues.  Of course, at our open house, most of our employees know each other, but sometimes they are meeting their colleagues’ spouses or children for the first time.  And that makes it special.
At the US Embassy in Kenya -Ambassador Ranneberger Honored by Maasai Elders
Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.
Slideshow from US Embassy Kenya/Flickr

And because WikiLeaks continue to roil the politicians in Kenya, and all that some MPs wanted for Christmas was the expulsion of Ambassador Michael Ranneberger (following revelations of his “alleged” unflattering assessment of the Kenyan leadership) —  we have to include this old item from late November of the US Ambassador honored by the Maasai elders  and presented with his own warrior’s shield and spear.  Apparently, the Maasai elders were not the only ones who keep our top representative in Kenya in favorable standing (granted this was before WL).  But according to this report the latest opinion poll shows that “54 per cent of Kenyans rate US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger favourably, while 40 per cent agree with MPs the envoy has lost respect among them.” Hey, when was the last time you’ve seen an opinion poll on an American Ambassador?