Already in these short five-plus months here in Rwanda I have been able to make many wonderful birthday memories. One of which included celebrating our dear friend Jadot’s 29th birthday with him. It was a very special night. Little did I know when I baked a birthday cake for Jadot that he would be so deeply touched to receive it. We found out that Jadot had never had a birthday cake in his life of 29 years (!), and as we sang the happy birthday tune and brought out the cake with lit candles, he could hardly contain his emotions. Casey and I felt honored to celebrate with him in this way. We then spent the rest of the evening sitting on our porch and learning more about his story and life to candle-light.
The next birthday memory happened to be mine (did you know that I’m 29 too? ). Casey and I traveled back to Lamu, Kenya to celebrate my birthday this time (see blog post “Birthday Day 2009″ where we spent Casey’s birthday in Lamu on our RTW). It was really wonderful to return again, and it came at a much-needed time. We also had some medical follow-up to do, which could only be done outside of Rwanda, and spent some time in Nairobi with our friends Amy and Kurt. It was a great week away.
Lamu is an island off the coast of Kenya that can only be reached by boat. You fly into the nearby dinky airport and then take a boat across the Indian Ocean to reach the island. There are no motorized vehicles on Lamu; only donkeys. Donkeys are used as transportation and local labor. You feel like stepped back in time as you wander the streets of this place. Lamu is an incredibly old city, around a thousand years old, that is described on the World Heritage List as “the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa”.
Can you say "tiny plane"? This ended up being the longest hour-and-a-half plane ride I've ever taken! Arg.
On our way to Lamu Island
Donkeys are used as local transport and for manual labor - here, hauling coral bricks
We spent my actual birthday sailing along the Indian Ocean to the remote island of Manda Mtoto on an old traditional dhow (sailboat), and had the most amazing fresh fish lunch. Strikingly beautiful beaches on a deserted island with nothing for miles. It was breath-taking. That night we enjoyed dinner on the rooftop of a gorgeous hotel with our new friends from London, Miriam and Mark. It was a delightful day and one that I will not soon forget.
Deserted island + hot husband + gorgeous beach + Indian Ocean = Happy Birthday to Me!
Local fisherman offering us fresh fish from the morning catch - fresh squid in this case...
...we opted for the fresh snapper instead,
...and boy was it good!
On the flip-side, the dinner is also something that Casey will also not soon forget, but for a different reason. Casey’s experience with what tasted like an amazing crab dinner at the time, turned out to put a damper on him ever ordering shellfish again. He spent the entire next day in bed and the next week trying to recover from the fish toxins. We are guessing that his crab was not fresh. Big bummer and wasn’t the best way to end a lovely week on the beach. (Casey weighing in here: the “shellfish incident” was absolutely brutal and the toxicity didn’t leave my body completely until almost 10 days later. Thankfully I was able to get out of bed the last day to travel back to Nairobi. But suffice to say I’ve been cured of shellfish for a very long time, if not forever.)
This birthday weekend also entailed a long weekend in Nairobi, Kenya staying with our friends Amy and Kurt. We are SO thankful for the opportunity to have gotten to know them and spend some time with these guys. I wish they lived closer though. It is so rare and far between when you can connect with another couple and feel like it is one of the easiest friendships with conversation that never seems to end. We had so much fun with these guys!
This is "Jay", our friend and local tailor from Lamu.
Great birthday memories made? Check!
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