It’s taken me far too long to post a blog entry about celebrating Sam’s 13th birthday, but here it is at last! Unfortunately, Sam’s birthday (June 12) falls at a time of year that is always, always busy. He often “shares” his birthday with other events in our family – end of the school year, graduations, house sales, moving to other countries, etc. This year was particularly challenging. The last day of classes at Dakar Academy was June 2, and right after that many families were leaving for home assignments or just to go home for the summer. We had to back up his party into May in order to assure that all his friends would still be around.
But although we had to celebrate early, I think Sam really enjoyed his party. He had a great time with 6 of his friends from school. They played on the trampoline and the Wii, we ate hamburgers and hotdogs, and they watched “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” projected on the wall. (Special thanks to our friends at Wintonbury Baptist Church for sending the iTunes gift cards that we purchased the movie with – and also for the yummy butterscotch chips I used in the cake! ) We set up the tent in the backyard, and the boys said they slept pretty comfortably out there.
I got a kick out of the gifts the boys brought. There really isn’t any place here where you can get games or books or toys (unless you are willing to pay 3 or 4 times what they are worth), so birthday gifts from friends here tend to be very simple. Typical gifts are a bottle of Coke, or a candy bar from the local market. Sam isn’t really fond of soda, but he loves “Tampico,” a local orange drink that is something like Koolaid, only fruitier. When it was time for him to open his gifts, he received one “real” gift – some modeling clay and Blo-pens – the rest were beverages. One boy had recently been to Mali, where Mountain Dew is available to purchase, so he gave Sam one can of Mountain Dew. (Sam gave it to Bill yesterday for Father’s Day – Bill loves Mountain Dew!) I think there was one bottle of Coke; all the rest was Tampico! Sam couldn’t have been happier… for the next week or so everytime I saw him he was drinking Tampico. He says the kids call him “Sampico.”
So, now we are the proud parents of two teenagers! As I said to my Dad when he called to wish Sam a Happy Birthday, so far, so good! Sam has done well since we moved to Africa, and we are enjoying watching him grow and mature. Happy Birthday Sam, hope the next year is a great one for you!