I guess your Christmas tree is now indoors and decorated? Perhaps the last place you’d expect to find a metal one would be Tanzania. This story comes from the Missionaries of Africa and is by Marien van den Eijnden, M.Afr.
When I visited for the first time the M.Afr. house in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, [now called Atiman House] in the 1960’s, I saw in the courtyard a sort of metal Christmas-tree and wondered what one would be using it for. The top was 1.5 m high or more, and it had some 50 upending branches. The amused confreres explained that one used it to drip-dry wine-bottles after having been cleansed and rinsed. But in those days they rarely used it anymore.
The house was the procure, or distribution centre for the missions, and imported the Mass-wine and table-wine for upcountry. In addition to individual bottles one used damjan [= dame-jeanne], bottles of + 20 litres in a wickerwork basket. Later on drums of 100 litres were used, which were bottled in the respective diocesan headquarters.
Marien van den Eijnden, M.Afr.
Father Marien’s story left me wondering at the effort that went into making sure there was enough wine for Mass so far from any vineyards, but grapes have been grown in Tanzania since soon after he arrived there. So maybe the Christmas tree is not needed at Atiman House.
Happy Christmas to all,
Maurice, Will and all the team.