This is our last evening at the Convent of the Sisters of Notre Dame of the Ark of the Covenant.
(The Ark of the Covenant resided here in Emmaus (Abu Ghosh) for some years before King David took it back to the Temple in Jerusalem.) We have formed very warm relationships with the Philippino ladies who take care of the guests – Malou, Grace, Jenny and Vivian – who cooks with love.
Today is the birthday of our Kenyan participant. We have celebrated two other birthdays on this pilgrimage but this one was extra special since it was also our last evening. I was called in my room and asked to come to the dining room and give my approval of the decorations. The dining tables had been decorated with rose petals, votive candles stood on upturned water glasses and a big arrangement of flowers graced the serving table. It looked absolutely magical. The love and care that had gone into it moved me to tears and I had to take a firm walk around the garden. These young women had obviously thoroughly enjoyed themselves and cared about us all.
A special meal was presented; roast turkey with all the trimmings. Since hardly anyone in the group eats cake, the staff prepared a small flower arrangement for the birthday ‘boy’ (as people delighted in calling him) with a bowl of ice cream. A birthday cake candle had been brought in anticipation, and there was much hilarity as he pretended to have difficulty blowing out the one candle so that everyone who wanted could take a photo. He had no difficulty being the celebrity 🙂 Several birthday songs were sung and the Australians led their Hip Hip Hooray performance with gusto. A very special closing to our pilgrimage which we will all remember.