It’s Avy birthday!! Woowoowoo!! Guess what her most exciting birthday present was? Malaria! Yup, I couldn’t make that up. She hasn’t been feeling very well recently, so she took a trip to the clinic this morning to get tested. She only has one plus (out of four), so it’s the least severe, but it’s still malaria. I have to say that she’s handling it quite well. She said, “I’ve been saying that I want to get malaria just once before I leave because the kids get it all the time, and I want to know what it feels like. So I guess this is just the universe giving me a twisted birthday present.” Like I said, she’s handing it well. She’s also taking a lot of drugs, so I think that helps.
Speaking of birthdays, we had a surprise at the farm this morning… PIGLETS!! 10 of them! They were born last night, and they’re adorable. Okay, that’s not totally true. They’re pretty weird looking, and they’re still working on the whole “moving” thing… think robot hairless cats. But not a new, high-tech robot. More like a robot with some loose wires that looks like it might collapse at any second. If my judgement wasn’t clouded by the fact that they’re baby animals and, as such, are automatically considered cute, I would probably say that they’re kind of gross looking. No worries though, I’m sure they’ll grow into adorable little piggies! Besides watching the pigs, we did more machete weeding, but that’s really not important.
In the afternoon, Joe came by with 5 ½ big bags of sawdust for us to take to the farm for the piglets. I tried to carry mine on my head with no hands and totally failed. Joe said that my hair moves too much, and I think that’s true. It slides around on top of my head when it’s in a ponytail. The only way I’ll be able to perfect the head-carrying technique is to cut my hair off or get cornrows. Ugh. I’ll keep working on an alternate plan because neither of those are options. Meanwhile, John was riding a child-sized bike with his sawdust sack on his head like it was no big deal. I asked him how and he said, “you just put it on your head and ride.” Great, thanks. That’s my new ultimate goal, but I’m not under any misconception that I’ll be able to get there without intensive training and probably without living here for another 20 years. Luckily, a yevu (white person) carrying anything on his or her head, even with hands, really excites the locals, so we gained a lot of fans as we walked through the village.
I had to run over to the cake lady’s house when we got back from the farm to pick up the cake. When I got back to the house, I sent spies in to verify Avy’s location and creeped in the back door. We left it in the other girls’ room until after dinner when Yara and Lily brought it out with a lit mosquito candle for Avy to blow out (we have birthday candles, but Avy is the only one who knows where they are which obviously doesn’t help). All of my fears about her catching on to our plans were totally unnecessary. She had no idea! I also made her a card and had all of the current volunteers sign it, plus asked the past volunteers I know to send me notes from them to write in. It all ended up working out so well!
We had a chill night in after that (mostly because the cake was amazing but sooo heavy and none of us could move), just playing cards and hanging out. It reminded me of the early days of being here when we used to play cards all the time and were always spending time all together. It was really nice. I can’t speak for Avy, but in my opinion (which is clearly the most important in this situation), it was a successful birthday!