Thursday, May 12, 2016

You Say It's Your Birthday

Text by Elizabeth Barnes and photos by Amalyah Leader
On April 28, the Family Support Center threw the year's first birthday party. For the 10 kids there who are new to the project in 2016, it was their first FSC fiesta de cumpleaños!

A "train" of little ones (not yet in school) arrive in the party room linked together and repeating, "Choo choo!"
Incredibly, though usually one or two kids are absent any given day, we had 104% attendance at the party. (Ximena, who was in the FSC last year, came just for the day because her mother was in the hospital with her new baby sister.)

As our youngest FSC birthday boy, Alex had the honor of going first. Despite Carmen's coaching he barely touches the piñata.
 Interns Adam and Amalyah and several Pop Wuj students joined us. After the little ones finished lightly tapping at their clown piñata, Julia and Lynchy (who have birthdays between January and April) each had a turn. We usually spin each piñata hitter who's old enough once for every year they've been alive. Fourth year medical student Lynchy watched Julia get blindfolded and spun around 23 times and announced that he turned 15 this year.

Even blindfolded, Lynchy makes short work of the little ones' piñata.
The little ones rush in to collect candy and peanuts.
We brought two piñatas—a clown for the little ones and a monkey for the school-age kids. Several of them who are old enough to read cried, "Jorge!" when they saw their piñata. Jorge el Curioso (Curious George) is a popular series at the FSC.
Amy turned 6 this year and told us that she didn't want to use the blindfold. Because she was the youngest of the school-age kids, we foolishly let her at the piñata without it. 
The instant that her bat first smashed into the piñata we knew that we we had made a mistake. Fortunately Jorge survived for the rest of the birthday kids' turns!
The piñata survived enough for Arturo, our oldest and last birthday kid, to have his turn. But we barely managed to keep all the kids alive, as they kept diving to pick up stray candy while someone was still wildly swinging a bat! 
One of our General Projects Coordinator, Amalyah, made vanilla and chocolate cakes and cream cheese frosting from scratch. All the birthday kids gathered around for the birthday song and candles.

Most of these birthday kids know that cake is serious business. Though Amy seems quite alarmed!
We finished our festivities with party favors for everyone and gifts for the birthday kids. (Carmen had to purchase some last-minute candy for Ximena's party favor, but we actually had an extra age-appropriate gift on hand for her. We weren't sure when Andrea's birthday was and so prepared a backup present that came in very handy when Andrea's birthday turned out to be in November and Ximena's in February!)

Zulmy and Amy open their gifts.
Before the party was even over, kids were asking when we'd be having the next one. Not until August! But we've got other great activities to anticipate before then.

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