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Happy Birthday to Me

May 3, 2012
George and Me

George graduates from his computer class! I’m not sure which one of us was more proud.

Happy birthday to me.  I was small sad when I woke up this morning, but thankfully I had somewhere to be.  Today George graduated from computer class!  He invited me to come and begged that I comply, “Ms. RB, I would feel so happy to see you there!”  So I put on my favorite gold dress, packed my bags, and walked to the capacity building center by the UN camp, what the kids call “the Bangla area.”

They had decorated the small building and crammed as many plastic chairs inside as could fit.  One of the officers ushered me to a seat near the front and I was delighted to soon be joined by Pelle and the rest of the UN MIL guys.  The program started about an hour late (just on Africa time) and the students sang gospel songs and told jokes until everyone had arrived.

I couldn’t see George but I was sure he was there.  He was the second name they called and he came bounding from the back flashing his huge smile.  He accepted his certificate and held it up for me.  I shot him a big thumbs-up and he chunked it in my lap and went to his seat.  What a goof!  After the program the Bangladeshi officers insisted I come to the back room with the rest of the UN MIL and have refreshments.  But I wanted to see my kids!

They insisted.  I went.

George was waiting for me when I finally escaped.  I gave him back his certificate and we had someone take our picture.  He’s the best.  I was so proud of him and so glad to spend my birthday at his program.  Leaving, I went directly to campus and hung out with the 12th graders before teaching two eerily well behaved 11th grade classes.

WAEC must be on everyone’s mind because Daniel stopped me in the middle of class just to make sure I’d still be here next year, “Really you will be with us?”  I nodded.  “Ohhh that’s good!”  They’ve seen how much I’ve been with the 12th graders and I think they’re worried I’ll leave and no one will be here for them.  And I can see why.  None of the other teachers have stepped into that room for weeks.

George spread the word that it was my birthday.  They were all furious I hadn’t said anything sooner.  I expected they’d all ask my age, but instead they just made me promise to listen to the radio all night, “We’re going to request for you!”

After school I went to Roni’s and bought a dusty bottle of wine for the occasion.  Maima only had fish gravy but insisted I eat it even though she knows I don’t love fish.  I sat in my usual chair picking at it and felt like I was back in Kakata, forcing down as much as I could for the sake of my Ma’s feelings.  Two Savannah’s at the club and I’m feeling fine.  Just about time to go home and dance…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Candace permalink
    June 5, 2012 1:46 am

    Can you think of a birthday back in America when you were surrounded by so much love and genuine friendship?

  2. blondie permalink
    June 5, 2012 1:24 pm

    Glad your birthday was a good one. Miss you much and am so glad you’re so loved there too 🙂

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