Sunday, the 20th of July, was my 22nd Birthday. Since I spent that whole day flying back to Sierra Leone, I didn’t get to do much celebrating – although I don’t make much of birthday celebrations when I’m back in the states, anyway.
I told my colleagues at Awoko, though, that I wanted to do something on Friday to celebrate, and they told me of an interesting Awoko tradition: If it’s your birthday, it becomes your obligation to treat your colleagues to some goods – usually food and drinks.
I was convinced that they were all just pulling my leg and joking around with me because that is the exact opposite of the tradition in the states – friends and family of the birthday-person are supposed to treat him/her to gifts! After a few minutes of questioning and arguing, I was a bit let down to find out they were telling me the truth. On the other hand, I figured it was a good opportunity for me to give back a little something to my colleagues who have helped me so much throughout my internship thus far.
I decided to take my colleagues out to lunch at D’s Bazaar – a cozy restaurant I have grown very fond of during my time in Freetown.
So Friday afternoon, nine Awoko colleagues and I marched down to D’s Bazaar and enjoyed some good old-fashioned cassava leaves with rice.
I actually underestimated how much I would have to spend for lunch and I ended up having to borrow some money from one of my colleagues – quite embarassing.
Regardless, it was a fun time with my coworkers and I hope they enjoyed their meals as much as I did.
I return to the states on September 1st, two days before my older brother’s birthday. I can’t wait to tell him about “the Awoko birthday tradition” and try to make him treat our family to a nice meal.
Anyway, later that night I met up with a few American friends that I’ve made rather recently: Two interns from New York who are staying at the same hostel as I am; and a young graduate from Los Angeles currently working for the Poverty Action Lab in Freetown. The four of us met up at Paddy’s nightclub; a place where I have wanted to go for a long time now.
The next edition of Through the Eyes of ‘U’ will be an account of my highly interesting and eventful night at Sierra Leone’s “hot spot,” Paddy’s. Stay tuned.
By Yu Nakayama