On August 16, I not only celebrated my recent promotion to Country Director but also my 36th Birthday! This is the third birthday that I have celebrated on the African continent. In 2013, I celebrated my birthday after only three days in South Sudan. My co-worker organized a cake and impromptu birthday party with colleagues from IRI and the National Democratic Institute (NDI). I made sure to get a photo of the birthday cake to remember my first birthday in South Sudan (below).
In 2014, I celebrated my second birthday on the continent with IRI colleagues in Abuja, Nigeria. I was so special that I actually received two fancy birthday cakes and a bottle of champagne (sparkling wine). I have since come to learn that Nigeria is the second largest consumer of champagne behind France. Can you imagine?! (a very common phrase on this continent).
This year, I decided to throw a party to celebrate my birthday and my recent promotion to Resident Country Director. What I quickly discovered is how expensive parties can become in Nigeria. I easily exceeded my $200 budget just buying food and beverages. And pleasing Nigerians is no easy task (smile)…But, how many times do you get to celebrate two major life moments…We had a great time socializing at the pool on my compound. Initially the rain kept us indoors, but after an hour or so, there was a break in the clouds and we were able to finish the celebration enjoying a nice Abuja evening below a few visible stars. And in typical Nigerian fashion, the Champagne was flowing as we celebrated. It was a nice end to my 35th year and a great start to my 36th year. I am no longer considered a youth by international standards…and will now have to check the box that I am 36 and above.
Happy Birthday! What a luminous cake.
It was suppose to be red, white and blue but was more like pink and sky blue…The white was the easy part! Thanks Scott!
Happy Belated Birthday.. Congrats on the promotion!!