This is my 4th birthday in Zambia and the last year being in my twenties. Birthdays are a really funny thing. When you are young they are a big deal. But as we get older they don't carry as much excitement as they do anxiety and only the big ones carry the celebration that an 8 year old's birthday can carry. Each birthday in this country has be so incredibly different.
I turned 26 ten days after moving to the village. Peace Corps has what is called "Community Entry" for the first three months of being in your placement, meaning you can't leave unless there is an emergency. I don't think birthdays count as emergencies, but they should. My family didn't know they could call me in my village, my village family didn't know it was my birthday and I felt really weird telling them. The day went on as just another day and oh my god did I cry. My friend Justin who lived 100km from me has the same birthday, but he had two neighbors at the time that were super awesome and made him a cake and they had a ka-small party in there in his village. They tried to talk me into coming but I felt weird about leaving the village 10 days after getting there. In hind site it might of been good to have made the trip, but it was a great learning experience. It is important to take the time to recognize someone on their special day because it sucks to be completely forgotten.
The next year was a much better experience. A death defying trip to the Wonder Gorge where we fought forest fires and scaled down the side of a 300 ft. gorge to the river for a cool dip and to collect water. We ran out of water and food, the canter truck was hours and hours late to pick us up. People were scared, even though we had cell phone reception.
The third birthday was ten days after starting my job at WorldFish. I don't even remember what I did for that birthday, if anything.
This year my birthday is 10 days before leaving the country. My boss threw a wonderful leaving/birthday party for me at his home. Friends and colleagues came and enjoyed. For my actual birthday, there are plans to go to dinner at the Chinese restaurant down the road. It is raining right now with no sign of letting up but I hope soon enough it will die out.
I think I am kind of excited about leaving my twenties behind and moving closer to adulthood, I think I am starting to figure out what I want to be when I grow up!