Tuesday, March 11, 2014

1st Birthday Party/Kemmem for Viliame


THE big celebration and major milestone in a child's life in the islands is when they reach their first birthday.  When a child is born here, and in most of the Pacific Islands, there is very little fanfare.  They are born and then they are blessed.  But once they live through that first year of life, then that is the time of real celebration! Big time!  I have to think this celebration was created generations ago stemming from the low mortality birth rate, especially in the islands.  Years ago the odds of a baby surviving were not very good, so once they made it through their first twelve months, then life was a little more certain on this earth and it was now time to celebrate.  The proud parents, William and Mela Ninjine , good friends of ours (and the cutest couple ever), invited us to their son's first Birthday Party, or Kemmem.  And what a celebration it was!  The only thing I can think of equivalent to this celebration in the United States is a wedding reception.  Invitations go out to all family and friends, a room is reserved, food is prepared, cakes baked, musicians lined up, and prizes and decorations purchased for all the party goers. There were also t-shirts, from Hawaii, for the party goers. This party was held in the restaurant attached to the Ebeye Hotel (the only Hotel on the island).  And most importantly a huge poster is created memorializing the birthday boy - Viliame (like William with a V) Anthony Ninjine.
Viliame's poster and decorated cakes

The honored family, Mela, William, and Viliame Ninjine, with our friend Samson Thomas.  The Ninjine family had matching clothing made for this special occasion
Mike with Mela and Viliame
Lisa with Mela and cute little Viliame


Party goers waiting for the party to begin.  Candy and prizes decorate each table and helium balloons float all about the restaurant.

President Thomas at the mic and getting ready for the music.

Room filled mostly with women and children at the tables and on the floor

And more people.....

Our sweet sister missionaries, Sister Butler (left) and Sister Tafili (right), with Sister Thomas (center) enjoying the meal served to all.  Dinner consisted mainly of rice, noodles, steak, chicken, potato salad, rolls, bread fruit, soda and bottled water.

We were in the small back room (that was air conditioned!) with a few of our dear friends, Pres. Thomas, Branch Pres, Anjain, District Pres. Seremai, and more prizes and candy on the table.

Our beautiful servers, Sister Loeak (left) and another sister.

Mike with the birthday boy

Enjoying a "grandma moment" with Viliame


Mike and Akino Smith (he baked and decorated the cakes where he works on Kwaj army base!)

Mike goofing off with Samson Thomas - comparing their skin tones! Which one is darker??


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