In February 2009 we opened the Door of Hope Families here in
. My birthday, March 31, was the first to be passed by, almost unnoticed. Robyn mentioned it, but birthdays don't have much meaning over here. For one thing, several of our children did not know when their birthday was, and they surely never celebrated one before. We tried to have a little fun and they were going to guess my age, well that was a real smart idea Einstein. 93 - 78 - 65 OK lets stop this, and try something different. Most of them had not spent much time with a muzungu before and we look different than the locals, and the longevity of life here is in the forties. I was 58 last year, not too old yet, right? But for a young African child, this white man with graying hair must have looked ancient. Uganda
Well through this past year we learned how to celebrate birthdays and before long everyone decided that it could be a good thing. We assigned birthdays to ones that didn't know theirs and we had cakes and parties, games, and music and fun!
Here is the stories on how we make Birthday cakes:
This was all made possible by Robyn's joyful spirit. She taught them how to decorate and make the day special. We never started with gifts as a necessity or a focus.
They started bringing small gifts with home made gift wrap of something that was special to them that they were willing to give up and share. The decorations were soon taken over by a couple of girls that "took the ball and ran with it" as they could make a room look festive by going out in the village and gathering vegetation and that added with a few traditional balloons, and like magic it was a party!
Birthdays were now a time to give someone a special day and for all of us to celebrate with each other. We would always include prayers, and worship, and testimonies and talk about what this person means to us or discuss their special attributes and praise God for the gift of life.
So this year my birthday still falls on March 31, but there was a different excitement in the air. The kids said we need a good party this year because last year it wasn't very good. Can we have a real party? Yea lets have a great party. How about goat or beef for dinner (meat is only on special occasions, like Christmas or Easter), and chapatis, and eggs, and jack fruit. OK lets do it, so how about we wait until this weekend when we are out of school so we can stay up longer for games and fun.
The excitement of this event was a healthy change in their lives. It was optimistic, thoughtful and fun. When your family is made up mostly of orphans and street kids you realize that events like this are a true blessing from God and we thank Him for showing us the change that is being made in these lives.
I will tell you how it went on the next post!
How do you celebrate birthdays?