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Family makes special meal for Christmas

Making chipati
Josephine (right) and her mother, Elizabeth, roll out
chapati dough.

Working side by side, Josephine and her mother, Elizabeth, make chapati, a type of thin, unleavened bread popular in many countries.

Elizabeth kneads the dough before giving it to 12-year-old Josephine to roll out.

They work at a low table that serves as a countertop and dining table. The table is covered in flour, so the dough rolls out evenly.

"I love chapati and meat," Josephine said as she rolled out the dough. "I am so happy today."

In Kenya, where Josephine and her family live, chapati is commonly part of the special meal eaten at Christmastime. It is rolled and used as a utensil to eat a meat or vegetable stew.

Many families in the Unbound program, like Josephine's, only eat chapati once a year because the cost to make it is more than their budget allows.

Regina Mburu, Unbound's communications liaison in Kenya, said it's tradition for chapati to be served at Christmas, no matter what budget a family may have.

Josephine with chipatis
Josephine holds a bowl full of prepared chapatis.

Chapati is made using wheat flour, salt, cooking oil and water. With only four ingredients, it seems like chapati would be very affordable. But because the cost of wheat flour and cooking oil is high in Kenya, chapati is a special treat for many families.

Elizabeth budgets carefully for several months and uses a small portion of their Unbound benefits to afford the Christmas dinner.

As the hot chapatis start to come off the stove, Josephine's older sister, Sheila, eagerly asks her mother if she can have a bite. Sheila had been away at school and looking forward to a good, home-cooked meal.

Along with eating good food, it is a Christmas tradition for Kenyan families to receive new dress clothes and shoes. Children who are part of the Unbound program receive new outfits and shoes at Christmastime as part of their sponsorship benefits.

Before sitting down to eat, Josephine and her family change out of their everyday clothing and into dress clothes. The table has been wiped clear of flour and set for the special meal.

"I am glad my family will eat today with a smile on their faces because this food is very sweet and comes by quite rarely," Elizabeth said. "We thank Unbound for all the support."

Donate to the Christmas Fund to help make Christmas special for sponsored friends around the world.