Caleb’s turning 2 this weekend, and birthday preparations have begun. Whereas in the US, this might entail thinking up a theme and activity, buying decorations, and sending invitations; in Kenya this has entailed procuring a goat for slaughter, renting a tent for shade, and scrounging around for suitable birthday cake pans.
Given the sensitivities of Colin’s position as a country director in an enormous office, we don’t want to exclude people. So, our current plan is to tell everyone about the party rather late so we can invite as many people as possible and still be able to accommodate the people who show up. Hopefully strategy won't backfire and catch us unprepared for a rush of people or with pots of food and no one to feed it to. Either are possible.
Our friend and Caleb’s caregiver – Rukia – is going to help cook the meal (rice, chapatti and goat for adults and mandazi for the kids). Our friend Mbugwa is going to find and slaughter the goat. Carol is offering her compound (which is much bigger than our sliver of a yard). Raissa, an expat from Mexico, is making a piñata for Caleb and friends. And I’ll simply make a cake and bring over Caleb’s toys for the kids to play with. There won’t be much of a “program” per se, other than the novelty of a piñata and a pile of toys.
In some ways it’ll be very Kenyan. Kenyan parties don’t have themes or activities. Mainly, a meal is offered, occasionally speeches are made, and there might be some music or dancing. And that’s what we’re planning. But in other ways, it’s very non-Kenyan to throw a big party for a 2 year old, and we’re sensitive to looking like over-indulgent mzungu parents. So, we’re just presenting it as an excuse to have a get together with our new friends.
We’re also, truth be told, looking forward to the exotic appeal telling folks back home that we “slaughtered a goat” in honor of Caleb’s birthday. So, you can look for that in an upcoming facebook/blogpost entry…. ; )