(James) I was having fun at my birthday party. We played a donkey game which was Pin the Tail on the Donkey. We were taping the tail on the donkey. And we played musical chairs. We had popcorn, and raisins and groundnuts in the popcorn. For dinner there was potatoes, rice, and fried cabbage. The people that came to our party were some friends that we made.
(Helena) I just want to say the same thing, all that Jamesy said.
(Eric Now) Helena and James are now six! It is hard to believe that the tiny 4.5-5 lb bundles of joy from the NICU are now reading and writing and doing chores and getting into trouble... We decided to throw a small birthday celebration for our eldest twins. The "small" part quickly snowballed into "largish," as it seems if you mention a birthday celebration, people assume they are invited. Helena and James mentioned it at school, and we had no idea how many people to expect. 10? 20? The one other birthday celebration we have been invited to, we received an invitation the very day of the party. I guess word gets around.
Anyway, we enlisted the help of Fidelia, or "Mommy Tchina," as our children call her, to prepare the food for lunch. If you are keeping score at home, let me explain: we had hired Nyuykividzem Faustine to help us with laundry and cleaning and some cooking, and when she went back to school, her mother, Fidelia took her place. Because adults are rarely addressed by their name, most parents are known by their eldest child: Ma Modest for the mother of Modest, or Pa James for the father of James (or Ba James, meaning the same, ba being a Lamnso' loan word from English.) We buy our roasted groundnuts from Mommy Wilma, who is Wilma's mother. Anyway, Sally couldn't say Faustine's whole name, and called her Tina, but it sounded more like "Tchina." Incidentally, it is pronounced kind of like mommy but spelled Mame. So, Mame Tchina helped us cook food that Cameroonian kids would like at a party... basically, rice with some veggies and fish thrown into the mix. The gigantic pot in which she cooked the rice was HUGE. It was a cauldron.
The guests ended up not being overwhelming in number, and after feeding close to 30, we had leftovers... plenty leftovers, (in pidgin, "chop where e never finish") which we ate for dinner... and breakfast... and dinner again. We even had more guests at one of the extra meals.
The party was a blast: There were over a dozen children, and a handful of parents that also arrived. The party games were fun, and the other children loved them. I think Logan had more fun playing musical chairs than the children! The power was out and we couldn't play music, but someone had music on their phone and we just used that.
Helena and James loved their birthday outfits, tailor-made and designed by a local seamstress. The matching-outfits thing is pretty popular here. For special occasions, people will get matching shirts made... or families will all wear matching dresses to church. Anyway, Helena and James looked pretty sharp in their one-of-a-kind clothes.
The eating and games over, we had three-ingredient chocolate cake (can you guess the ingredients? a hint: one of them is chocolate) and passed out bags of popcorn trail mix as favors. As it was pouring down rain, all the children were content to color with our crayons, then play card games, then color some more, then dash home during a break in the weather.
It was so good to celebrate Helena and James with their new friends, and though it was a lot of work to put everything together (even with Mame Tchina helping) but we loved to share our joy.