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Monday 4 July 2011

Birthday party!

It has been a very different birthday... not a bad one, since I've been with people I like, but different since I haven't been with people I love (in other words, my better half and the rest of my family).

I simply invited everyone I could reach down to the Blue, but it turned out most of the NGOs are pulling their people back to Juba for the separation weekend so the only one who came were the UNMOs, the Major from BanBat*, the two Canadian UNPOLs and two good friends working with ZOA**. Hopefully more people will show up on Saturday when we have a Separation Party. We did have a good evening though; talking, drinking, eating snacks and playing foosball while listing to music. And even if I told people ahead of time that I wanted no presents (bring a friend instead), I did end up getting a few... and was most touched by the care and thoughts expressed with them.
 Most of my team - and I really do think of them as "my" team; when I took over as TSL I also accepted the responsibility for more than just the running of the Team Site. From bottom right and clockwise: Peru, Nepal, Norway, Benin, Sierra Leone, Nepal, Norway and Peru again.
 Spot the photographer; in the upper right, Russia. The last guy from Sierra Leone and the other Russian was a little late in arriving.
 The Commander of the Bangladesh Force Protection brought a card and flowers. More on those later...
 Just hanging out, venting some frustrations over a few drinks.
 You tell people "no presents", and this is what you end up with... a bottle of vodka from the Peruvians (who wished they could have found me something more unique), a bottle of high end Indian Whisky^ and a tourist pamphlet from Benin, as well as the flowers and card from BanBat. In addition I got one more thing - more about that later.
 The card from BanBat - very touching, even more so since I didn't expect it.
 BanBat definitely have someone with an artistic touch working for them.
 Such sweet guys... I would never received something like this from a Norwegian Force Protection Unit. Don't get me wrong, I would have gotten a card - but not like this one.
 And yes, it's all hand made. Cut, paste and draw by hand - the entire thing. Coloured in by magic markers and ballpoints.
 The flowers looks lovely, and are picked fresh today. They look great next to my laptop, and I do hope putting them in water like this will make them stay fresh until tomorrow so I can take them down to the office and have on my desk there.
The last gift was given by one of my Nepalese friends; the Lord Buddha was born in Nepal, as I'm sure everyone knows, and this small replica of a famous Buddha statue was procured from the small gift shop at his birthplace. It's supposed to also be a good luck talisman as well as a very nice present.

Overall a very different, but pleasant way to spend my birthday. And as an added bonus my guys got to vent a bit of frustration in a setting that was calm, relaxed and not work-related. It's win-win, really.

*) I really like this guy; while on LDP we spend an entire evening discussing philosophy.
**) for more about ZOA, see here.
^) A bit of googling seems to indicate that this is a real whisky made from malt - unlike a number of Indians "whiskys" that are made from fermented molasses...


  1. Those are wonderful presents and the card is so pretty too! I am glad that you could celebrate your birthday with such good-hearted friends. It's so nice to see you smiling like you are in the pictures.

  2. Happy Birthday from Greece! (belated)

    Looks like you had a nice little party there. The card is really wonderful and a nice souvenir of your colleagus there. Following your blog with interest even though I don't usually comment :)