Sunday, June 12, 2011

Coletta's Birthday Party

We pulled up to the party in dad’s truck, Pastor Joseck, Isaac, and Daniel in the back, energized from the rocky roads surrounded by pricker bushes that made a terrible scratching sound against the truck as we drove by.

We were greeted by the whole party singing us into the backyard where there was a makeshift tarp covering 30 some plastic chairs which kept moving over as the sun moved eastward.

We were given the seats of honor at the front, facing the rest of the guests, including the birthday girl. I’m told this is customary for white visitors. Kenyans are honored to have white people in their homes, so they make them feel special (or a bit weird as was my case) by letting everyone stare at them the whole party. I guess I didn’t really mind so much since I knew this was something that made Bosco and his family feel special since they got to show off their mzungu (white) friends.

Bosco’s brother got the program started by announcing prayer. God was invited into the procession.

Mom and I then cut the cake she brought. I realized then that I love this culture—dessert before lunch! Little Coletta, with the help of her uncles, went around with a piece of cake and a fork and gave a forkful to each of her family members starting with the children, then immediate family, then Mama Bosco, and Mwaitu (respectful name for the elderly).

During the whole program, the family members showed deep respect for the elderly, saying that this party was a celebration of life, young Coletta’s life and the aged life of Mwaitu, the matriarch, the tree from which the branches have grown.

We then ate a delicious buffet lunch of potatoes, beef, chicken, rice, tomatoes, and chapatti. Then it was time for the best part for Coletta: the gifts! Coletta came up front, standing behind a bowl into which she would delicately place each present after receiving it. Her dad presented her with a book, then her mom gave her a sweater, then Mama Bosco and Mwaitu, then the honored guests (us) gave her gifts (some toys and a stuffed animal), then everyone else.

We took lots and lots of pictures. Even though they would never see these pictures again, everyone wanted me to take their picture. Maybe this was their way of being remembered. If I have pictures of them, I will have reminders of their lives. How could I forget these beautiful people? Then came a surprise for Anastacia, my mom, and me. Mama Bosco came up and bestowed upon the three of us a kiondo (traditional Kenyan basket with a rope that is used to carry things on your back). Mama Bosco kept saying things in Kikamba (a tribal language) and then everyone would laugh. I swear she was saying, “Look at these white people who don’t understand a word I am saying!”

Everyone then sang and prayed over Bosco’s family and the party came to a close. “But we are not kicking you out,” said Bosco’s brothers. “Stay and greet with us!” So we stayed and greeted. I taught Isaac how to use my camera.

And I held baby Manuel. Then we headed off for home with kiondos, pictures, and beautiful memories of beautiful people.

1 comment:

  1. Tarrin, what a beautiful experience.Thank you for the great pictures. Looks like everyone had a great time. Enjoy your time in Kenya.
    Love you,
    Papa and Grandma