How do you celebrate a birthday in Africa?

What do you do to celebrate birthdays in Africa? I got asked that question a lot this week. As much as I hate to disappoint, there was no tribal dance in my honor or a coming of age ritual performed by myself. As far as celebrations go, it was pretty much like any other American birthday, well except that it was in Africa. My supervisors were out of town, so we had agreed to do the whole cake thing this weekend once they got back. On the actual day of my birthday, we had chocolate chip pancakes for dinner, with bacon (my favorite) and then I opened a couple of gifts that my sweet cousins sent. Today, we had the official birthday cake and I have to confess publicly that I micromanaged the making of my own birthday cake. Every other sentence began with “well my mom makes it this way.” Seems I was pretty insistent on having a cake just like my mom would make for me. Poor Sarah, she humored me and followed the cake making orders down to the last detail. It was delicious (just like mom’s)!


Despite the ordinary birthday celebrations, this was a birthday where I couldn’t have felt more loved and blessed by the people back home. The cards, letters, emails, phone calls, and packages were far more than I deserved and I was overwhelmed with gratitude at receiving each of them. I was so blessed that you thought about me and made efforts to make this day special for me! I was reminded again of how undeserving I am of the love that has been shown to me and how gracious the Father continues to be to me. It was a good reminder of the Gospel and of how the Father sent His Son to die on the cross, when we were all still sinners and so undeserving. Thank you for the reminder of His love and for blessing me by your thoughts, prayers, cards, calls, and packages on that day!

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