We were excited to know before we traveled, that we would be there to celebrate her birthday. We purchased a few things for her before we left and planned to take her out for dinner to celebrate that evening. I explained to her that at my house, a girl gets what she wants for dinner on her birthday - so it was going to be her choice. She didn't quite know what to say, but eventually said she really liked to eat pizza.
The plan was to meet her at Mamba Point, a nice restaurant nearby, with a variety of choices on the menu. Later, we learned that she has only been to that restaurant one other time and she was a little unsure of whether or not she could even get in if she came in by herself.
We arrived before she did and set her gift basket at the head of the table, where she would be sitting. She was shocked to see that not only was she getting to eat dinner in a restaurant, but we had brought along gifts, as well. She could hardly speak! It was such a blessing to us to be able to pamper her for the evening and give her a birthday celebration that she has likely never had before.
We brought her a gift basket with all sorts of kitchen supplies....sponges, towels, washcloths, scrapers, cutting mats, a colander, hot pads, etc. The biggest surprise was an electric hand mixer!
We ordered pizza for everyone and even had a couple of sushi rolls! The Philadelphia roll is just as good in Africa as it is here! :) She had never tried sushi and it was a treat to watch her experience it for the first time. She preferred to separate the contents and eat them by themselves rather than all at once....and she LOVED the ginger.
Even though it was a celebration in her honor, she sat with her plate full in front of her and only picked at her food until we were finished eating. When we finished, she ate with enthusiasm and enjoyed her meal. I assumed that she must not have liked it, but rather, she was selflessly waiting for us to have all we wanted....she waited for the leftovers.
Later in the week, we got to help her prepare a meal for our day at the beach. She had to make a special trip to the market to buy food, and then worked hard to prepare a special meal for everyone who would be there. As Tiffany and I were helping her in the kitchen, she explained how joloffa rice was a meal they enjoyed only occasionally, usually at important holiday meals. And, because the kids all love chicken, she prepared one piece for each of us.
Marie with Kevin strapped on her back..bent over chopping veggies for our lunch
Tiffany stirring the beef stew for the rice on beach day.
This oversized mortar and pestal is what she used to mix the onion, pepper, tomato paste and spices for the stew.
Joloffa rice...cooked with tomato paste, onion, garlic, and pepper
Aunty Marie worked tirelessly all week long taking care of us at the guest house. She has the heart of a true servant, and I'm honored to have had the priviledge to get to know her.