Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Birthday Week.

Just a quick update about a few people I’ve written about in the past.

On Wednesday (22 June) I went to the camp. I already knew it was Elizabeth’s birthday and we had planned to celebrate in some way together whenever I got to the camp. I hadn’t expected it to be on her birthday, though, but when on Monday I was able to also take care of what was scheduled for Wednesday, I decided it was a good chance for me to go to the camp for this special woman on her day.

I’ve described the Harmony Center in the past – it works with people with disabilities and their families, offering a few classes and other trainings, including things like tie/dye, batik, baking, sewing, catering, and some others. In the afternoon they have a program for the children with disabilities where they get some basic classroom training, as well as art classes and drumming and culture dancing lessons. It’s a wonderful organization and has been a great group of people I look forward to going to be a part of every week or two.

Every time I go to Harmony, Henry seems to be baking something – and the place smells delicious. I don’t know if he’s the baking instructor (for some reason I’ve never asked) or if he just should be the baking instructor. He often sends me home with meat pies, corn bread, short bread, etc.

Henry is the guy on the left, I think the only guy in the photo, in fact

This time, Joe (a new SMA lay person who is working on the camp) and I took Elizabeth out for lunch (potato greens! my favorite!), and Elizabeth and I shared a box of Don Garcia (Don Garcia is a boxed wine that doesn't have a link to any website. Hmm, there must have been a 5 in the clock. And hmmm, is that an inside joke or is it clear what that means?). When we got back to Harmony, Henry had finished baking and intricately decorating a beautiful cake for Elizabeth, saying “Happy B-Day Madam”. David, one of Elizabeth’s co-workers (along with Thomas, who was away at a training), gave a very moving speech.

group shot - Henry is in the yellow shirt; David in the white shirt; Elizabeth is between them

He talked of how much they admire and respect Elizabeth, about how she always has time for everyone, how she goes out of her way to sit down with people, listen to their troubles, offer comfort and advice. Doing so much for everyone around her and getting so little in return. Very sincere, and very touching.

Elizabeth having me help cut the cake after the talk and presentation

I was going to go afterwards, but Elizabeth asked me to wait a bit. She suggested I go watch Joe doing some physical therapy with the kids in the afternoon program, and then whispered that Henry was also decorating a cake for me. Wow – that’s exactly what Henry was doing (it had been my birthday on Tuesday).

The cake was beautiful and as intricate as Elizabeth’s. When Henry finished, they carefully wrapped it and someone even carried it to the trotro for me. And then I took over. Oops. It was still beautiful when, after 3 crowded trotros and a 15-minute walk on a muddy road, I got it home, but it was a little less intricate – more a blending of design and colours – but still beautiful, and still delicious. It got shared with everyone in the house – and I’m happy to see that there’s still half of it in the refrigerator that I’ll be able to take a chunk of with some coffee in the morning.

And now Friday is going to be Alice’s birthday. I have to go to Cape Coast School for the Deaf, so am not sure I’ll be back in time to celebrate with her. She’s at the house at the moment, we just did her final review for the eye surgery she had a few months ago – all is fine. She’ll soon be going back to Madina (a part of Accra on the far opposite side of the city from where Bethany House is located – it can take 2 – 4 hours to drive there, depending upon traffic), and with the help of donations we’ve received, start working on her kiosk. I’m too excited for her – and hopeful that this kiosk will be a way for her to get back on her feet, eat regularly, stay healthy and happy, and feel she has the dignity in her life that she deserves.


At 12:33 AM, Blogger MJ said...

Wow, that cake had to be a lot of work--I used to do cake decorating as you know so I can really appreciate the time he spent on it--especially when he had to make two of them--one for Elizabeth and then one for you.

At 12:28 PM, Anonymous Pam at UIC said...

So nice to see a picture of you Steve!!!!
Admittedly I don't open every blog update (time), but I open many/most and it seems it's been years (if ever) since I've seen a picture of you!
You look and "sound" great!

At 12:30 PM, Anonymous Pam at UIC said...

And keep up the good work!


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