Teacups in the Jungle

Life stories from a missionary mama

Happy Birthday Izzy!!

Phew, it is September! I say this because August was a very eventful month for us, and I think I am ready for some routine, schedules, and progress in the lessons I am preparing for the children here in the village.

This morning Danny and I had an early breakfast, we had coffee, pancakes, homemade yoghurt and people were dropping in to charge cellphones, buy medicine, return borrowed tools, and our home had that “routine hum” about it, I liked that. I am so glad we feel “home” here. Going to town is fun, getting to go out to a restaurant is excellent, but being home is often soothing to the soul and I am hoping we will get to be here in the village for quite a few weeks before we need to head to town again. A big praise for me this week, is that our little girl is sleeping better. Izzy has never been the best sleeper, ( a lot to do with us living in guesthouses or having guests and I have been lifting her a lot as to not waken others). However this week, being back home, and in a routine, she had a few cries and now is sleeping though the night. I feel like a new mama. It is amazing what a few good nights sleep can do for us. I no longer take this for granted.

So back to August, Izzy got over her sickness and seems to be doing great. Praise the Lord.  Our baby girl turned one year old, we can hardly believe it, but what a better way to celebrate her day than to have a family birthday party, here in our home in the village, followed by a birthday party thrown for the whole village. What not celebrate in all cultures right? The best part about it was my mum and dad were able to come to celebrate with us.

Granny and Granda Parker flew all the way into the village from N.Ireland to be with izzy on her first birthday!

Here are a few photos from the birthdays, such a stark contrast between cupcakes and roasted pig, but not for Izzy who didn’t bat an eye, all of this “mixed up” life is so far all she has ever known.

This was the “village party”.  Pansit, Pork and People (lots).

A few days before the party, two guys Augustine and Silit, went out into the jungle to get wood, bringing it all up to our house on a watter buffalo. They cook everything, rice and all, over open fires, which they knew would require a lot of wood. The afternoon before the party about 5 or 6 guys came to the house to put up a temporary covering in case it rained, it had been raining the days previous to the party but we were so thankful that the rain stayed off so we could all enjoy eating out on the grass.

Austine and Silit spent a few days cutting wood and brought it to the house the day before the party. All part of the preparations, when there is lots of food to be cooked over open fires. 
Preparations the morning of the birthday party started at 5am.
Many happy helpers. 

Family birthday party. Cupcakes, candles and cards.

Looking at the photos of the village birthday party, it may seem like a lot of work, and it was, but not for me! I think all I cooked was a pot of spaghetti (sweet style of course). It meant so much to us to see our friends here in the village start to prepare for the big party days in advance. One of the ladies in the village wrote me up a shopping list of all the things I needed to buy in town and bring in on the little aeroplane with my parents. (I have to admit I didn’t totally follow it as I wasn’t sure how good she was at knowing weights, two of the items on the list were, 2 kilos of garlic and a kilo of ground pepper, I down graded those!).

Saturday morning, the day of the party, Danny was up at 5am and down at Austine and Lilibeth’s house, they had kindly offered their home as a place to prepare and cook all the food, they knew how smokey it would be and didn’t want us to be “smoked out” of our house. When Danny went down, about 25 people were already there, men were killing and preparing the pig, ladies cutting vegetables and cooking rice. Everything looked so organised and everybody knew their place. I had to laugh to myself when I went down and had a look at all that was going on, at home to throw such a big event we would of had a committee, and there would have been emails back and forth, and flyers passed out, texts sent and people cced on it all, here they just showed up and got to work, and it was great! Actually the hours of preparations and cooking were nearly more fun than the party. When I dropped down at 9am or so (break time), a group of older ladies who were in charge of cooking the rice were huddled around a bowl of something and certainly enjoying it…kind of like when someone at home goes on a “Starbucks run” for all the ladies working in the kitchen, they had “that” look about them. Anyway, when I inquired about the contents of the bowl, it was not on the same par as a low fat caramel latte, it was in fact the pigs tail they were sharing out! I was surprised to see how much meat was in it, and for the record I am no hardened missionary, I had to turn it down, I could not stomach that any time of the day, never mind 9am. 🙂

Ate Minda was very happy to get the pig of the tail. Rice pots cooking in the background.

Dad loved having the opportunity to watch everything going on. He commented more that once on how skilled the people are at doing things to make it work, and to survive, and they truly are incredible. It was a great experience for mum and dad to see the culture of the people here and most of all to see their kindness in helping us so much. We could never have thrown this party on our own.

Danny gave thanks for the food and welcomed everybody before we tucked in. He thanked God for our little Izzy whose first year of life we were celebrating. It hasn’t been the easiest year healthwise for her but God has been so faithful each step of the way. It was a blessing in many ways to share this day with the people here in the village, who have prayed for Izzy before she was even born, and have continued to pray with us through all her various sicknesses. We wanted to say thank you to each of them for allowing us so graciously entry into their lives, and for the love and care they have shown to us and to little Izzy.

Thanking the Lord, for our little girl, as we celebrate her first birthday.

Roasted pig? Honestly, not my thing, I am more of a cupcake girl. However in these situations I know too well, that the form of the party doesn’t really matter, it is the people who we get to celebrate with. Having mum and dad there for Izzy’s party was precious, a memory we will forever treasure and get to tell her about. Seeing our friends in the village care as much about the party as if it was there own, was touching, and the fact that so many of our friends here are also our brothers and sisters in Christ, makes each celebration, an opportunity for fellowship, and worship to our great God. Our hearts are filled with praise for all that He has done for us, each and everyday.

I LOVE this photo of our dear friends Austine and Lilibeth. We are so happy that Austine got saved a few months ago and now we can have more than friendship, we can have sweet fellowship together in the Lord. 

We said goodbye to mum and dad a few days after the party. Goodbyes never get easier, actually I think they get harder. Their visit was short, but oh so sweet, and mum somehow managed to head back home without even tasting that roasted pig. 🙂

This is the way mum sat the whole party. I heard her say more than once, “Oh I am holding the baby, I will get some pig later.” They loved being there for Izzy’s big day and we loved having them here to be with us and the people here in the village. Precious, precious memories.  

One thought on “Roasted pig or cupcakes?

  1. goneagain says:

    Happy birthday to Izzy! Got here via the Garmans.
    Too bad you don't care for roast pork. We do it so well. If you ever go to Cebu, try it there. They have a great version that just might convert you.


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