Lemme tell you something about the revellers and amazing people who attend TAWA: they will NEVER miss a TAWA Christmas Party! That’s because the Christmas TAWAChillout is when we really come into our own. The games are extra raucous; the dancing comes with extra juice and extra sauce, and the generous giving embodies the true spirit of Christmas!
The Tereza Joanne was our preferred location for the festive jollification; our host, Ayo Sonoiki, had once again done the most with Christmas themed decorations – red, green, gold and sparkles everywhere! From the door, you knew you were in for a great time!
DJs Abass and Jimi D Baldheaded Guy heightened the excitement by slaying the crowd with hit after hit! Simply trying to move to each new activity on the agenda took an average of twenty minutes because we were all on the dance floor at every given opportunity. Ayo had to adopt headmistress mode otherwise we’d probably still be there by now. Our behaviour is becoming very unbecoming, I know 😒😜😒! Even the TAWAChillout virgins – newbies to our shenanigans – got in on the fun; people just left their home-training at home that Sunday!
And speaking of jollof rice (abi is that not where the word ‘jollification’ comes from 😉?), Laredo Suya and Grill was just busy making people break their fast and ruin their diets! He teamed up with our village people to ruin our waistlines before Christmas. Tempting fish fit for a king (even one born in a manger), dun dun and dodo fried to perfection, and jollof that makes you rub your tummy in delight. Laredo is a very terrible person if I’m being honest.
But on to serious matters; not every time chop chop. If Jesus is the reason for the Christmas season, then the wonderful work that is ceaselessly done for Domestic Violence UK must surely be the reason for the TAWA Chillout meetings. It’s amazing that inside of all of the frolicking, we are making a real difference in the lives of real people. People you might know. People just like you and I. Five pounds for a strip of raffle tickets might not seem like much, but, by God, small drops make a mighty ocean! £620 raised on the night, adding to the thousands that the TAWA Chillout has contributed to the worthy organisation in the last couple of years.
In discussing abuse, the important point of insidious types of abuse – verbal, financial, emotional, bullying, control, mockery – was raised. There are things worse than visible bodily marks, and they are suffered by both men and women.
But what is a raffle without amazing gifts to be won?! Donors and fans of the TAWAChillout experience have steadfastly given of their time, skill and resources at every event, and this Christmas was no different. Gifts of hampers, gadgets, designer clothes and chocolates were snapped up by excited winners, with the star gift of a weekend away at any one of over three hundred UK hotel destinations being won by an excited and giddy TAWA-ite (TAWA-kalitu? TAWA-ian? TAWA-let?)!
And so it was that the last TAWAChillout for 2017 came to an end – but not before the Dance! Dance!! Dance!!! segment of the evening! Finally, the two DJs could do what they came to do – make us boogie! We all shook loose, we all had fun, we all laughed, and we all felt joy. And what is that, if not the Christmas spirit?
A special thank you to every single guest who ever bought a ticket. Shout out to those of you who attended, told a friend, and returned to the next event with friends in tow. Well done to those of you who used the TAWAChillout for what it is meant – an evening of de-stressing, rejuvenating, and reconnecting with a younger, more fun self. All of our appreciation to the Children of Wobe (which may or may not include me; you will have to speak with my lawyers) who infused each and every event with fun and laughter, making it an unmissable event. Gratitude to those who gave their services silently and selflessly – caterers, photographers, helpers, donors, ushers, DJs – there would be no TAWA without you.
And, most importantly, the greatest thanks goes to Ms Sonoiki herself: it is one thing to see a need, quite another altogether to pull off such an event so spectacularly every time. Thank you for creating a haven and a beautiful melting pot. If we have never told you before, we’re saying it today: you too try.
May we all enter the New Year with joy and gratitude, and may 2018 be a spectacular year for us all! See y’all at the next TAWAChillout!
All pictures courtesy: Bayo Oyekan, Balogun TAWA Tinz
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