The ridiculous succession of cakes began a week ago Sunday when Brooke made shepherd’s pie and chocolate cake for us. We hadn’t seen her since before her birthday, so I put some candles in her chocolate cake to celebrate. Cake Number 1.
On Monday night we ate leftover chocolate cake with Nutella spread on as frosting. Plus, Brooke had used some of the cake batter to make mini chocolate muffins. Cake Number 2.
On Tuesday morning Marina, Jill, Arsenio, and I went to Pastor Manuel’s church in Manga for the graduation of the orphans’ activists that Marina had been training. With any celebration in Mozambique, there is always bolo (cake) and juice or refrescos (soft drinks). As Jill stated one time, “In Moz, where there is relationship, there is cake.” How true. At the graduation we all had two or three pieces of Café Riviera bolo and some bright yellow and bright orange “juice”. Cake Number 3.
That night we went to a combination birthday/farewell party – birthday for a Scottish girl who is doing her gap year here, and farewell for a gap year team of three English girls who came out with Oasis for five months. It was a potluck with a course of main dishes, then a course of deserts, then another course of cakes! I had already eaten a plateful of desert, so when the birthday cake and then farewell cake emerged, all I could manage was a mere taste of each. Cakes Number 4 and 5.
On Wednesday morning we celebrated March birthdays after our weekly Oasis all-staff prayer meeting. Our monthly bolo day is my favorite day at work! This month was especially happy because I was one of the March birthdays, which meant the staff prayed for me and sang to me. I’m having a hard time turning 31, and it helped to celebrate, if only briefly, in a Mozambican context because, unlike in America, age is seen as a gift to be thankful for. To make it to 31 is not something to be taken lightly. I am healthy and strong and hope to, God-willing, live many more years. To be thankful for completing another year of life instead of worrying about what I haven’t accomplished by now was a healthy change of perspective for me. Cake Number 6.
On Wednesday evening, the single girls from Oasis plus Brooke and an American guy, who’s in town temporarily, had dinner with an American family we all know. For desert we had chocolate cake with purple frosting and Kissables to celebrate Jill’s and my birthdays. It was by far the best cake we had eaten (and would eat) all week. The frosting was thick and almond-flavored. SO yummy! Cake Number 7.
We thought Thursday might be a cake-free day; however, all four gap year girls came over for dinner and brought leftover farewell cake with them – the triple-layered chocolate-iced one. Cake Number 5 revisted.
Friday was my birthday, and four of my girlfriends and I took the day off to drive south to Inhassoro to spend a long weekend on the beach. Even though it was my birthday, I assumed we were all pretty caked out. No one mentioned making a cake, so I brought jello and custard along instead (a birthday tradition I learned from Norwegians in Honduras). But that afternoon I found a chocolate cake mysteriously baking in the oven of our rented cottage. That night, we ate Marina’s chocolate cake and drank champagne on the beach. Cake Number 8.
On Saturday and Sunday we ate leftover chocolate cake. Eight cakes in eight days, all accompanied by good friends, good conversation, smiles and laughter, and celebration. Relationship. And that is the beauty of cake.