Thursday, April 17, 2008


I received an early birthday card today and it got me thinking, because it asked how birthdays are celebrated here. I am not completely sure about how common this is but a number of my Nigerien friends aren’t sure of their day of birth (they know what season they were born in and what year), but they may not know the date on the calendar. However, a number of my Christian friends have taken to celebrating their birthdays on the day that they became a Christian or where baptized. When I heard that the first time I thought that was a great idea, because what is a birthday for other than to celebrate the life of the individual and what better day to celebrate than the day that the person became alive in Christ and started their eternal life! But, I guess this is still more about a “when” they celebrate instead of “how” they celebrate.

Those Nigeriens that I know that actually celebrate their birthday, probably do so because they have been influenced by those outside of their culture. So, they tend to have a birthday cake and a good meal to celebrate, but I don’t have an incredible amount of experience in this area. The one interesting thing that I learned about the zarma, is that typically they don’t eat together. But, if you are having a celebration of some sort or just eating something out of the ordinary you send a piece to your neighbours to enjoy too. I guess in the villages, market day is this kind of celebration (especially when it only happens once a week).

I guess for me I am planning on delay (or extending?) my birthday celebration, until I go home for conference and can eat at one of the many restaurants that I have been missing and eating chocolate that hasn’t melted in your hands long before it has escaped the wrapper let alone come near your mouth. –Mind you I don’t mind the taste of chocolate even if is has been pre-melted a few times since it escaped the factory. It’s just when the mice at the post office get to it before you that I get turned off.

Thanks to all that were praying for my sister’s family. I have heard that her father-in-laws funeral went well. Please continue to pray for Dave as he leads a bible study for the next couple of weeks in French and for the boys’ school as they are looking for staff for next year. (At the moment there is no one to teach Ben’s class, Gr. 1/2 or many of the high school’s core courses). You can also pray about our transportation needs while we are home in late May/early June.
Note: the pictures are of Cole's birthday last month. Because he didn't want a party and there were only two presents we went on a present hunt--that is why his present was in the washing machine.

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