Thursday, March 14, 2013


It was Bernie's birthday last week, and we had decided to celebrate it along with John Bani, who is the son of our friends Del and Alan. John was turning nineteen, and Bernie ....well, a little older than that ....65 years in fact.
The Ni-Vans (Vanuatans) had prepared some food in the ground oven at the Nakamal. and some of those who arrived early went up to see them bring it out.

Wrapped in palm leaves, the food consisted of kumera, taro, pumpkin, cabbage, onion, beef ribs and chicken pieces, beautifully seasoned and smothered with coconut milk. 

 We had a lot of Bernie's extended family to join us in what was a beautiful friendly evening.
 But the ones weho enjoyed it the most - and added a great deal to the happiness of the occasion - were the children!
 Here are some of them lined up along the two long tables groaning with delicious foods.
 Nate was determined to enjoy himself to the max!
 And Bevenie enjoyed her ice cream too!
 George, wh has been a friend of us all for a long time, is chatting to Joanne and our John.
 Brandt provided some rough entertainment out on the lawn. Perhaps he had drunk too much kava to care about his back!!

 Below, three lovely girls (right to left)- Tina, Charlene and Del.... Tina is my niece, Australian born and now a true Norfolker with residential rights here, Charlene, whose home is in the Philippines but settling in really well to a different way of life here on the island, and Del, who came from Vanuatu to join the rest of her family less than 12 months ago, and really enriching our lives with her gentle ways and friendship. 
 And here are the birthday cakes - a magnificent chocolate one for John, and a giant cupcake made by our lovely daughter-in-law Kim (iced and decorated by the kids in Kim's kitchen that afternoon) for Bern.
 Del watches as Julie lights the candles.
 And we sang happy birthday to two special boys. This will be the last birthday John will have with his family for a while, as he is returning to Vanuatu at the end of the year to train as a chef.

 There is something about two year olds and birthday cakes - they are real magnet for little fingers....

Well, we all love birthday cake, don't we?? 
 Later all the little kids played happily together around the toybox - it was a very touching sight. Jasper had "retired" to the couch somewhat earlier, having attended two other birthday parties that day!!

 Nate stayed the distance  until nearly midnight, but finally gave in.
during the evening I managed to snap this picure in the dark ofChully, who has become a very special person to us. Along withAlan, he was responsible for much of the work that went into the Nakamal.

 It was so good to have Bern's cousin Marie join us for the evening. It was truly a lovely get-together!

What a memorable evening. About 50 people, from toddlers to oldies, including a good sprinkling of teenagers, and from different cultures, all  having a wonderful time together.We feel so blessed.


Faye said...

Mary, what a wonderful gathering you have had for Bernie... Do wish him a very belated Happy Birthday from Ray & I. I wish we had still been there for the celebrations... xoxox

deborah segaert said...

Hello MAry, I read in a post (from 2009) that you were at one of the Armidale Symposiums... I am researching a story about the symposiums for Down Uner Quilts. I am wondering if you can share your memories or recollections with me? Do you have any photograps you coudl share?

kind regards
Deborah Segaert

Related Posts with Thumbnails