When I woke up on Saturday, I lounged in my hammock for a while thinking about all of my “to-do’s” for the weekend:

1. Clean feet…thoroughly
2. Sew curtains for hut
3. Plant flowers
4. Gather and sort beans
5. Collect water at the borehole
6. Hike to the spring
7. Drink coffee
8. Read and journal
9. Acholi language lesson with Kevin

Seeing as Saturday was also my 24th birthday, I added numbers 1,2,6,7, and 8 as special “treats.” Yes, scrubbing my feet is considered a treat. Let’s call it a pedicure. Saturday was practically Spa Day! Making curtains- interior decoration! Drinking coffee in D’Andrea’s hut- an African themed café with friends! See…it’s all about perspective. I smiled to myself as I thought about how drastically my priorities had changed over the past month. Before I left, if I didn’t go out with my friends for 2 or 3 weeks, that was serious deprivation and we were long overdue for a girl’s night out, even if it meant going in the middle of the week—Working Women’s Wednesday how I miss you. Now here I am excited about reading and coffee!

The other mzungus (whities) at ChildVoice prepared some special surprises for me as well. I awoke to colorful balloons on my hut door and gifts of a beaded necklace and clutch. For dinner we had our version of guacamole (avocados=my faaaavorite) and Abby prepared the most amazing chocolate cake with coffee flavored icing and chocolate chips! Mmm..our own little piece of heaven in Africa. Later in the evening, the girls held a birthday celebration that included more singing and dancing. Pastor gave a little speech and thanked God because “a mzungu is celebrating her birthday with us.” Haha..I think he just forgot my name, but I was flattered nonetheless. Woops and screams and a congo line around the mango tree followed. It was pretty great.

I thought about my good friends and boyfriend at home who share a birthday week with me, and how much I would have loved to celebrate with them. But in my heart I know that it doesn’t matter where we are in the world because love and prayers know no distance.

Thanks to my momma and dad for having me 24 years ago–it’s you two who deserve a celebration. Thanks to my great friends who donated to ChildVoice’s food program as a birthday gift, or left a kind message for me. Thanks to my new ChildVoice family who have already brightened and enriched my life. I might be getting older, but it is clear to see that the adventures have just begun.

In my hut with my balloons and new birthday necklace!