On the final Friday of every second month, more than two hundred children get together for a party. Not just any party, but a birthday party. The residents of the Father Ray Children’s Home, Father Ray Children’s Village and the Father Ray Drop-In Center, were recently joined by the youngsters from the School for the Blind to celebrate the birthday of everyone born in January and February.
Almost three hundred children attended the party, which started with a dinner of fried chicken, pink noodles, son-tam salad and as much fresh fruit as they could eat.
When so many children are all together the noise can at times be deafening, but give them food and you could almost hear a pin drop, it was that quiet.
But the silence never lasted long as it was soon time to sing Happy Birthday and blow out all the candles.
Forty youngsters were born in January or February, and everyone was called to the stage to receive a beautifully wrapped gift.
For one young boy, who recently reached the grand old age of twelve, this was the first time he was celebrating the day of his birth. Orphaned at the age of two, he has lost count of how many different places he has lived. But now he has a home, and each year his birthday will be celebrated; though he looked somewhat nervous climbing onto the stage to collect his birthday present for the very first time.
Once all the gifts had been presented, the volume of the music was increased and the children danced. Groups of children stormed the stage to perform their version of pop songs and between eating cake, singing at the top of their voices, screaming at the performers and showing off their new birthday gifts the children all agreed that the party was one of the best ever.
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A bit nervous, celebrating his birthday for the very first time.
A happy little girl with her birthday gift.
One blind boy is happy with his gift.
One of the blind students received a ukulele for her birthday.
The birthday cake was delicious.
The perfect birthday gift.
The youngsters from the, screaming, Father Ray Drop-In Center.
Waiting patiently to blow out the candles.