Consequently, I got to help throw a Cinderella Party for Mama Angie on Sunday afternoon with all the girls, the house mothers, and the female staff of COTN.
Debbie, Becky and I spent hours wrapping Hostess Ding Dongs brought from home in tulle, putting together goodie bags with tiaras and candy necklaces and filling little 'glass' slippers with butter mints.
We decorated the veranda with lots of ruffles and lace and had all the girls wear their very best dresses. We gave them bubbles to blow and lined them up to await Mama Angie's arrival in her Toyota Forerunner pumpkin carriage.When she got there, Debbie and Becky gave her a sash, a tiara and long white gloves and told her to enjoy her walk down the imaginary red carpet.
She was supposed to walk down the line of girls, and then up onto the veranda to be seated at the 'high table' as the guest of honor. Instead, she walked up the line of girls, then turned around and walked back, then turned again, and came back up the line, being showered with bubbles and giggles the whole way. It was one of the sweetest things I've ever seen - this wise and powerful woman of Sierra Leone drinking in all the fluff and ruffles and lace and girlishness. She embraced her Cinderella party.After the procession, the girls all made their way up to the veranda, where they opened their goody bags and listened to the story of Cinderella be read be Debbie. We passed out their Ding Dongs and pink lemonade, then played some silly party games.It was such a sweet, lovely afternoon. I considered it such a treat to lavish these girls and women with a bit of silliness - an afternoon free from chores and responsibilities - and a chance to just be girls.
It was refreshing to see the childlike and simple acceptance of our efforts to pamper them in such a silly and unsophisticated way. They were genuinely appreciative of their pink plastic party favors. And in the end, Mama Angie asked all the girls,
"Wasn't it nice to just relax today?"
I came away from that party humbled and ashamed of my hardened heart... recognizing how little I enjoy the simple pleasures of life... a relaxing afternoon... the efforts of friends to treat me... laughter and bubbles and femininity.
It was a sweet afternoon.
One I will never, ever forget.