Children of Africa Day: Part 2

June 16, 2014 9:37 pm Published by

Editor’s Note: Children of Africa Day is June 16th. Our last blog told you about the history of the holiday and why we use it to celebrate our girls’ birthdays. This blog from JBFC’s Campus Director, Seth Diemond, explains how we celebrated this campus-wide birthday party this year. If you’d like to help us celebrate, by donating to our Children of Africa Day campaign click here.

Children of Africa Day or Siku ya Watoto wa Africa in Kiswahili, is an incredibly special day here at JBFC.

Celebrating 44 birthdays in one day is a challenge- it means we must provide the birthday party necessities on a massive scale. This year, like most years, the birthday festivities included more than just the 44 girls.

We were lucky enough to have six guests from Holland Hall, six wonderful interns, JBFC’s international administrative staff, and dozens of local employees in attendance. Various other guests stopped in throughout the day including neighbors, Joseph and Mary students, a couple of confused fishermen, the Masai security guards, and of course, dogs Cony and Maggie. All in all, our girls’ birthday party was roughly 100 strong- if not more- and included all the makings of a good day.

Preparations started a week ago here on campus. The girls selected six leaders from the girls’ government to form a “planning committee” that was responsible for organizing the day’s events. The girls met for over an hour, two nights in a row, discussing everything from decorations, to games and food, to soda and juice, to special guests and scheduling.

At their final meeting they created a list of “requests” to be submitted for approval- including a budget. Sausages, cake, beef, pizza, burgers, chicken, pilau (Tanzanian spiced rice with potatoes), salad, soda, juice, dancing, movies, water fights, and practically every other party activity imaginable were originally on the list. After a little bit of narrowing down, the list was approved and the preparations could begin.

On Monday morning the girls started cooking at 7AM. They prepared pancakes and fresh fruit for breakfast and by 10AM had already lit the charcoal fire outside for the BBQ chicken. In the kitchen, the scent of spiced rice was palpable by 11AM and six full crates of soda sat in the corner.

 A group of girls marched up to Chris’ house to use his blender to make fresh passion juice. Another group baked two cakes in the Papa’s kitchen. Still another group peeled potatoes for French Fries on the veranda outside of the dorms. Our Holland Hall guests, assisted by some of the younger girls, helped turn the dinning hall into a dance floor- a DJ booth, ceiling decorations, and wall decorations.

By 2PM the party was on. The girls, dressed in their best outfits, danced to Tanzanian pop songs while guests arrived. After a short welcoming from Mzee Kitula (JBFC’s campus manager and on-site MC), the JBFC choir performed three songs that they had been practicing all week before inviting everyone for lunch- starting with the youngest girls first. The final menu- slimed down from the original request- included pilau, salad, French Fries, BBQ chicken, BBQ pork, hot dogs, fresh fruit, and soda. Following dinner, our Holland Hall guests handed out gift bags to all of our girls and some of our neighborhood children.

As is ritual, the day ended with a massive every-man-women-child-for –themselves- water fight that lasted over an hour. Everyone was soaked- and usually soaked again after attempting to change clothes- but loved it.

Indeed, the party had all the trappings of a birthday party- most notably a family and community’s love.




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This post was written by Mainsprings