21 April 2012


Last week, I celebrated my 24th birthday (12 April).  This year was way different than last year's birthday, where I was in a Land Rover for 6 hours, headed into the Sierra Leonean countryside (Read about that here!).  Festivities this year began as soon as I walked out the door on Thursday morning.  The ship custom is to decorate the wall outside of the birthday person's cabin, and my friend Miriam was definitely on a creative streak while I was fast asleep.  She chose a "The Bachelor" theme and pasted friends' faces on formal photos of contestants from the television show.

After admiring her handiwork, I headed to work, where the entire OR department sang "Happy Birthday" to me in our morning hallway meeting.  Knowing that one of my least favorite things is glitter, Missy and Ginger then presented me with a homemade, glitter-covered card, signed by the OR staff.  They also baked a chocolate cake, which was enjoyed throughout the day.  Midway through the morning, four of our day volunteers, Holali, Marie, Thomas, and Gratias, quietly filed into my office and stood in a line around me.  On Thomas' cue, the four of them sang "Happy Birthday," not once, but twice!  First in Ewe, and then in French...I couldn't help but enjoy their very excited performance!

After lunch, I couldn't help but notice that several hospital folk were starting to sport fake neck tattoos.  In addition to glitter, Missy and Ginger also know that neck tattoos kind of creep me out.  Armed with this fact, the had secretly distributed tattoos to dozens of our staff, which they then proceeded to show off, much to my amused disgust!

Olga, myself, Jane, Wijneke, and Ginger, grossing me out with neck tattoos.  Jane's was so big that it look like her throat was slit if you looked fast enough.

Miriam, with a particularly disgusting neck tattoo.

Saturday night, Miriam and Melissa threw me a birthday party/game night, which was excellent!  Donovan, our managing director, and his wife, Mae, graciously hosted the event in their family cabin, giving us much more space than we would have had otherwise.  We played the group favorite, Catch Phrase, as well as Families and Salad Bowl, all while filling up on delicious baked goods.  

Chocolate cake, topped with my new favorite candy: Pineapple Lumps!  The New Zealandese confection is a pineapple-flavored center (somewhere in between a marshmallow and taffy), covered in chocolate.

The spread of sweets: Girl Scout cookies, Mae's famous sugar cookies, chocolate cake, carrot cake, Murray's Chocolate Frij Thing, and homemade raspberry cheesecake cups.

Back row (L to R): Mark, Sam, Josh, Cyle, Miriam, me, Kris.  Second row: Michelle, Kris, Melissa, Angie, Kayleigh, Melissa.  Third row: Candace, Amy, Mae, Hannah.  Front row: Murray, Donovan, and the top of Jordan's head.

After the party, a smaller group of us gathered in the Queen's Lounge to watch "Titanic" in honor of the 100th anniversary of the ship's sinking.  We all reminisced about the first time we saw it and couldn't believe that it had been 15 years since the movie first was released.  It was a great way to end a fantastic, sugar-filled evening.  I can only hope that everyone out there can feel as blessed as I did on my birthday, at least once in their lives!  Thank you to everyone who made it such a special few days!

So that makes two consecutive birthdays in Africa...I wonder where I'll be next year?

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad they honored your birthday in such a grand way. Of course, I think you deserved being treated in such a way with glitter, fake tatoos and all. Yes, it is countdown time and I am so looking forward to having you home even for a short time. I hope you save a little time for your old grandmother. I pray for safe travel for you and for all who might be leaving the ship when you are. I love you!