Joyeux anniversaire!
June 16, 2000

(A few Vendéens wait in the shade to surprise their friend Manieka Green, June 16, 2000)

We had planned it all week with subterfuges the kept Manieka completely out of the loop.  Her real birthday is actually Sunday, but we'll be on the road in Bordeaux.  That made it even easier to make this a complete surprise.

Manieka's host mother, Madam Atayi, has worked closely with Senan and the rest of the group to make everything come together.  Here, Manieka enters the terrace of the Atayi home to the greetings of her friends, both French and American.


Here the celebration begins as everyone gathers 'round for a pleasant luncheon gracefully offered by Madame Atayi.


I didn't keep a complete inventory of the gifts showered upon Manieka today, so I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.


In France, the twentieth birthday is very special.  We all hope Manieka will remember hers fondly.


An "ours", from the Latin "ursa",  is a special animal in France.  Today Manieka learns the children's word "nounours", which is the word used here for Teddy Bear.


Manieka's host sister, Gladys, also has a birthday today.  Gladys in now in the process of taking the all important national exams called the Bac.  This year she is working through the French section of the exams which she will finish at the end of the next academic year.  We all wish her success in this challenging endeavor.


Here Manieka prepares to blow out the candles.  To her left is Madame Dupont who was instrumental in arranging the wonderful afternoon.  We could not have hope for a more hospitable reception that that offered by Madame Atayy (right in the photo).


As the luncheon draws to an end, we relax in the warmth of a beautiful June afternoon in the land of Olonne.

Tomorrow also promises to a beautiful, sunny day, as do all in the immediate forecast.  On Sunday we leave for Bordeaux and what promises to be a truly unique experience for this year's Vendéens.  We will meet there with WVU's own President David Hardesty, his wife Susan Hardesty, and a distinguished group of WVU alumni and friends.  We will be joined by Monsieur Régis Ritz, former President of the University of Bordeaux.  In addition to visits of the city and some historic sites nearby we will also be received in the castle of Monsieur Alzéar de Sabran, a descendant of France's favorite King, Henri IV and his legendary wife Queen Margot (Marguerite de Valois).  

Since I will be away from my internet connection for the next couples of days, do not worry if my postings are not up to date for a while.  I should be back to these pages by Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest.

 Stay tuned to WVU-V!

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Comments to: mlasting@wvu.edu