Thursday, July 21, 2011

Happy Birthday Karen/America/Canada!!!

My mother was born on July 5.  As a result she has had the occasional 4th of July birthday party (including this year).  I was born 10 days later on July 15th, a date that is a bit out of reach of a 4th of July theme…until this year, that is.  This year, my community hosted an awesome 4th of July/Canada Day party for my birthday.  But why?  Why didn’t we celebrate Canada Day and 4th of July on July 1st and 4th?  And why are we celebrating Canada Day in the first place? 

It’s been so long since I’ve written I have quite a lot of news.  First, is that we have 2 new volunteers.  Dan from Canada arrived June 19th, and Enzo from Italy arrived June 29.  So now we are 6 volunteers representing 4 different countries.  Very international…and a little difficult to communicate in our non-native community language of French, but we are getting along.  

So now you know about Dan and you can see why we were celebrated Canada Day…on July 15th.


June 30th to July 4th was going to be a HUGE party weekend, full of independence fun.  June 30th is Congo’s Independence Day, so no one had to work.  There is a big parade where every school and group in Aru goes marching past assembled dignitaries (including UN and Ugandan representatives), as well as everyone who feels like going to the parade.  On July 1st, Dan was planning to spread Canadian tradition by celebrating Canada Day with some of our friends.  And for the past month, Katie and I had been planning a gigantic, awesome, 4th of July party- with burgers, s’mores and fire workers. 

 All of these beautiful independence plans came to a halt on the afternoon of June 30th (thank goodness after the parade- the only independence activity that went well) when I didn’t feel so well and took a nap.  I hadn’t felt so well the week before, but malaria and typhoid tests came back negative.  So Friday morning, (Canada Day) when I was really not well, the sisters decided to sent me to the Canossian hospital in Ariwara.  Once there I was admitted with a serious case of malaria and an infection and I spent the next five days taking in large quantities of quinine by IV and antibiotics as well as an assortment of other drugs:

But fear not: I have returned and I am better than ever!  The biggest downside (other than an African hospital, but no need to go into details there) was that I single handily ruined the national parties of 2/3 of North America!

Katie and I were determined not to be held back from spreading the joy of the 4th by a little malaria.  Very quickly the perfect rescheduling date emerged: July 15th, my 25th birthday.  Canada hopped on the rescheduling bandwagon and the birthday party for me, USA, and Canada was on.


Told in pictures

Katie and I bought half of a cow for burgers, a ton of potatoes for potato salad and Obama gum as party favors and Dan provided a case of beer.  Clara, Katie, and Dan decorated in Red, White and Blue (good thing Canada shares the color scheme minus the blue).  Since we have no BBQ, Clara and Enzo built a fire in our fire pit to cook the burgers over a real fire:

Our guests started to arrive and the beer flowed and we broke out the Guess Who? to play (very popular in Katie’s English class): 

There was a lively game of twister: the first time for all our Congolese friends, and let me tell you, twister was very well received.  I do believe they will be back to our house for more twister in the future: 

Katie and I served up the buffet of real American burgers and potato salad and more beer flowed:

After dinner we had disco dance party featuring the best of America music…we even tried to teach some line dancing: 

Then there was the cake dance and my birthday cake- pineapple upside down cake:

After 4 hours of America/Canada/Karen party we began to wind down as people had to go off to bed (Saturday is just another work day in Congo, so Friday is not a weekend…it’s like having a big party of Wednesday night).  We finished the party by giving out Obama Gum- yes, the American president is featured on gum here.  Overall, it was a great party with wonderful friends, good food, and very fun times 

Happy Birthday Canada, America, and Me!!!!!