Friday was a wonderful day for our kids at the Kabowa Community Pre-Primary School.
Most of the children in Uganda do not know their birthdays, not even the month. Parents may not even know unless they dig through papers to find a birth certificate. Since they do not know their birthdays, you can imagine that they also don't have birthday parties. A nice birthday meal can include chicken, rice, and sodas of course!!
In October, we celebrated my birthday with cake, and we asked the children how many had celebrated their birthday with a party before. A few kids raised their hands, but the majority of the 265 students had not ever celebrated their birthday. God put on my heart the desire to celebrate these babies and their birthdays since it breaks my heart they don't celebrate at home.
With the help of your generous donations to DLM, we were able to provide enough chicken, sodas, and a cake for each class to celebrate 265 birthdays!
We treated each child to a birthday party for them and for Jesus- celebrating Christmas early, too, since I will not be here for Christmas.
The kids had no idea! I asked one of the ladies in our women's group to buy the hens and prepare them for cooking. These weren't frozen chicken breasts. Oh no, these were live chickens that were killed, and then, soaked in boiling water to pluck the feathers off. Once the feathers were off, the lady was able to cut it for cooking. She arrived at the school at 6am, while it was still dark, to prepare this birthday feast.
However, what we didn't anticipate was the rain that fell all morning. The lady needed more than the one stove, but our small kitchen that Joshua uses to cook lunch everyday only has one. She was going to start a fire, and then, use some rocks to make a lift for the sauce pan to cook on. Since it was raining, the stove couldn't be built outside like planned. Cooking was delayed as the fire wood was also getting wet and wouldn't light as quickly. We had to move a classroom of children to an empty classroom so the local stove could be built in the shelter.
The rain delayed Josephine, the school's administrator, from walking down the road to the hired car she was to take to go pick up the 7 cakes we ordered, one for each class. Once the rain slowed down, she was able to go pick up the cakes. In the meantime, I was reading to every class the story of Jesus' birth and talking about why we celebrate Christmas.
Josephine returned with the cakes while I had one class left to read to. Once I finished talking and praying with the last class, Josephine and I began the party with the cakes! The cakes were transferred from the car to the back of my taxi van so the kids couldn't see them. I asked Joshua to get the correct cake from the car and the first class celebration began! Each cake said happy birthday with the name of the class. Every class was so excited! The joy on their face was beautiful as they were getting to celebrate their birthdays this year. They were so surprised! Even speechless!
Each class responded with cheering, clapping, and singing "happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday dear Jesus, happy birthday to me!" It was so sweet! Then, we cut their cake and the teacher handed each child a piece. It was a big piece, too! Not really big compared to how much cake we would eat, but it was a good size piece of cake. They were so excited to have a big piece of cake that they didn't even have to share! When we celebrated my birthday with a big cake, the students only got a small sliver. Just enough to taste, so they were thrilled to have their own big piece. They loved it!
While we were going around presenting the cake, I also told them about the lunch menu of chicken, rice, and sodas. Of course, they cheered again! Some kids said they only get chicken on Christmas. It made me think about how many times I would eat chicken in the States, and even here, I have access to frozen chicken (y'all know I'm not about to buy and butcher my own live chicken!). In America, almost every meal has some sort of meat, but not here because they do not have enough money to purchase meat. Some may eat meat once a week or once a month because it is less expensive than chicken, but even meat is a delicacy to them. And sodas- definitely they wouldn't get a soda unless there was a celebration of some sort like Christmas. You can imagine their excitement to have this birthday party and feast they were about to receive!
After we finished serving all 7 classes, Josephine and I went to the local shop to buy sodas. When we returned, it was time to serve lunch. By this time, it was 1:30pm. The nursery section normally has eaten and left school by 1:00pm. Parents were coming to pick up their kids, but we told them we were having a party and weren't finished. They left and returned later to pick them up, thankfully. Around 2:15pm the primary section was served lunch. They normally eat at 1:00pm. We didn't finish serving until 3:00pm. The kids loved the food! Some were gnawing on the chicken bones trying to get every piece of meat off of it.
It was a long day, but it was so worth it to celebrate their birthday and Jesus' birthday with them.
Each class said thank you, but many came up to me individually and said, "Thank you Auntie Cici!" I replied, we thank the Lord and they repeated out loud, "Thank You, Lord!"
Thank YOU for letting GOD use you to bless these children here with something as simple as a birthday party! They LOVED it! It will definitely be a yearly tradition to have a huge birthday party for all the kids and for Jesus, because He is the reason for it all!!