Friday, September 16, 2011


I was helping one of the guys from my English class set up an email account this week. He's eager to keep in touch with former teachers but doesn't have any idea how to do it. One of the required fields is to enter your birthday. This was the toughest question on the page for my dear friend, Elias. He couldn't remember his birthday! Actually, it seemed like the problem was that no one had ever told him when his birthday was. He had never celebrated with cake, songs, or a party. The weirder part of the conversation came about when Elias admitted that he wasn't even sure what year he was born or how old he is (though he doesn't look a day over 14). I was determined to get to the bottom of this mystery.

I told him he had to call his mother. Because Elias is the oldest of like 6 kids, I wasn't too sure that his mother would even remember.
Problem #1--no cell phone.
Problem #2--no money for phone credit.
Problem #3 (after I lent him my phone with credit)--he doesn't know his mother's phone number!
Problem #4 (after bringing her number 2 days later)--her line didn't work!! probably due to a lack of power in her village for a few days.

Finally we solved the mystery almost a week later. Though Elias thought he was only 18 or 19 years old, his birthday is March 10, 1990. So glad we figured it out, otherwise he would've had to share cake with me on the greatest day of the year--December 2!

Many people in Tanzania have an idea of approximately how old they are, and some know their birthdays, but it's not a big deal here. They only recently started eating cake (American influence, obviously) and they'll receive presents/contributions if they throw a party. Otherwise, it's just another day.

Although birthdays don't really matter in Tanzania, I can't ignore this wonderful day that a very special lady is celebrating in America.


I think this is the first of your birthdays in about 22 years that I won't be able to celebrate with you. Promise I'll be there in spirit. I hope you have a wonderful day! (I updated my blog just for you!!)
Love you!



    December 2nd should be a national holiday... I'm just saying...

  2. Cute! Happy birthday Christina's mom! And Jenn, I agree