Youths in Kenya are defined as anyone 35 years-old and under, so leaving one’s twenties behind doesn’t seem nearly as depressing here as it might elsewhere. To the best of our knowledge, there are no special birthday traditions in Kenya, other than the ones attached to the coming-of-age rites of some of the tribes. In fact, since many Kenyans don’t have birth certificates, they celebrate their birthdays on January 1st or not at all. We’ve even heard that it is impolite to wish the country’s older, venerated political leaders a happy birthday.
Last year, we celebrated D’s birthday in low-key fashion. This year, for his thirtieth, S pulled out all the stops. With help from her favorite recipe website, she made: bacon-wrapped scallops; avocado chimichurri; scallion turkey meatballs with ginger soy sauce; spinach & cheese pastries; humus; mango salsa; mushroom & chive crostini; apple cider donuts; spicy caramel popcorn; strawberry cream cheese cupcakes, and a strawberry cake.
Unfortunately, it rained most of the day and the party almost got washed out. We especially had been looking forward to using our brand new cornhole boards, which we had locally made from a friend’s HHE crate. Those who are not familiar with this great American pastime are strongly encouraged to watch this video (those who know and love cornhole are doubly encouraged to do so). The carpenter finished the boards a week before D’s birthday and the bags, which we ordered from the States, arrived the day before the party. It seemed like a huge waste not to play, so we rearranged our furniture and played indoors, to the collective merriment of those in attendance.
We had stocked up on booze for the party, but nearly everyone who came also brought drinks, and when the party ended we seemed to have doubled our stash. We had so many leftovers, both food and drinks, that we catered another event the next night when our ultimate frisbee team got together to watch the finals of the Ultimate Club Championship.