There are very few things that unite an embassy community more than the 4th of July.  Unlike many American holidays, the 4th is non denominational.  Everyone feels a sense of unity and pride.  As an American serving abroad, we are constantly struggling with the negative perception of being an American.  Though this negativity is less so in W. Africa you still feel it permeate throughout conversations internationally when you say where you are from and what you do.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Yost, USAID/Ghana

For this reason, on top of others, the 4th brings us a positive reason to stand up and say we are a community.  Of course, I am disregarding the fact it is a celebration of treason.  

Embassies around the world go all out for the 4th.  Duran Duran was hired to play the Ambassador's Shindig in London (along with appearances by Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophie Hunter) and Emilia Clark and Arnold Schwarzenegger did a drop in at Embassy Seoul (I recognize they are promoting a movie).  Embassy Ghana had two amazing celebrations.  The first being what I call the "fancy party" where the Embassy invites all the movers and shakers politically and socially in the country to celebrate the US getting a year older.  This year for Embassy Ghana it was a larger than normal hootenanny as it was Ambassador Cretz's final day as the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana.  The night was finished off with a fantastic display of fireworks, or as the Ghanaians say knock-outs.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Yost, USAID/Ghana
Personally, I enjoyed the second party more.  Primarily because I could wear a T-shirt and schmooze  a lot less.  The Embassy put together a great event this year for the kids, including a bouncy house, electric train, cotton candy, and even holiday themed cocktails.

The definite drink of the day was the "American Pie cocktail" which combined vodka, simple sugar, apple puree, cinnamon, and lime juice.  It was tasty!

Overall, I try to get into the 4th of July here because it makes me feel part of a family.  Because at the end of the day when you are abroad without your extended village, your Embassy community is your family.  I am constantly in awe of my family here.


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