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Birthday Parties and Rice


I was home over the weekend to spend time with my folks and siblings, since I’ve not seen them in a while.

Later in the day, I was going through my picture box when I saw the above picture that inspired this post, about birthday parties and rice.

As a child, I attended enough birthday parties where a birthday cake was absent. In place of the cake is salivating jollof rice, dished onto a tray, dressed with onions, tomatoes and lots of meat. On both sides of the tray are soft drinks.

Then the celebrant and the well wishers, stand behind the tray of rice on the table, and pose for pictures, with the celebrant holding onto the spoon on top of the rice hill.

After the pictures, the adults stand and watch us children eat the birthday rice together. And I don’t remember having up to three spoons, because the rice gets finished in a second. Another tray is brought, and same thing happens, because there are stronger hands with wider mouths, who swallow rice instead of chew, thus their spoons make regular trips. And the saddest part of these (rice tray) parties is that the rice is usually so delicious and I never get to enjoy it.

Those types of birthday parties were never fun for me, unlike the one where I get a plate to myself (pix above. I’m second from the left, the only socks wearer).

And eating in one spirit wasn’t just a birthday thing alone because I count a Christmas spent in the village, where visiting children to a house had to wait for more children to visit so that they all could spoon into a tray of rice together. Extremely gross.

And that aside, I’ve heard tales of families with lot of children, having to eat from the same place, and it is always the stronger ones that get filled. As in everything around us, it is the survival of the fittest.

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