Dear Santa,

You must be used to getting our annual missive by now and this year at least, you will no doubt be happy to hear that you won’t have to put yourself and the reindeer at risk when you traverse our northern shores. Yes, that futile war that lasted over a quarter century has finally ended. However, things aren’t all that rosy for the children and others up there as yet, as many of them still languish in camps – for all sorts of apparent reasons, although none of those ‘reasons’ make any sense to folk like us. I’m not sure if it will be safe for Donner, Dasher and the others to try landing your sleigh anywhere there without a permit of sorts, as very few ‘outsiders’ are allowed in – don’t ask why! So it looks like the children up there may not be able to have the pleasure of your company this year either.

Other than that, there’s a bit of excitement in the air these days and it’s not just because Christmas is around the corner. The politicians are all agog and thrashing around wondering which way the wind will blow as recent developments have resulted in another impending election – and this one for President. I won’t get into the details, as I’m sure you will get all the relevant information before making the trip over here, but suffice to say it’s an ‘all or nothing’ gamble for all concerned.

I remember you mentioning in your reply to us last year about how you got some pretty weird requests from a bunch of guys who wanted some outrageous gifts from you. Well, don’t be surprised to get some more from the same motley lot, as they are still very much around and still very much in the same situations they were in last year. However, they may be even more desperate this year due to the election which may well set the scene for a complete dumping of the existing garbage and which may see some of them wondering around in the wilderness. I’m sure you can imagine the plots within plots, the stashing of hidden assets, the secret deals and escape routes planned in advance, so watch out for those requests.

There are lots of folk here who are hoping against hope for a change that will get our beloved country back to a state of real peace and harmonious living, so that enlightened, sustainable, development programmes could be implemented – programmes that would swell the coffers of state and not the pockets and bank accounts of those in power. Along with these hopes are also hopes for ending endemic corruption, an administration that is transparent in its dealings and accountable for its actions and a few other hopes that include integrity in politicians and officers of the law. Okay, we know this is a bunch of wishful hoping, given that our track record in these areas is abysmal, but miracles still happen, right? Even small ones? Anyway, if you can put in a word with the ‘Boss’…..

Finally Santa, and especially since Christmas and You are really mostly for the children among us (and in us, I might add), please do your best to make this Christmas a happy one for the children – particularly the ones who are severely deprived and with very little to look forward to. Please make this one a Christmas that they will remember fondly and look forward to more as the years go by.

Take good care on your trip and we shall look out for that flash in the Christmas sky and will strain our ears for the sound of those sleigh bells ringing on Christmas eve. Keep in touch and let us know how it all went when you get back and if you have the time.