The Annual Family Update Experience

By: Daisyderata Chitimbe, Sponsorship Servicing Facilitator

Edited by: Memory Mwathengere

From a distance, as I rode towards one of the primary schools I facilitate on my motorbike, the sight of pupils wearing white and blue uniforms lit up my spirit. Slowly, as I got closer the pupils burst into a song that went: “Aunty Daisy tiwalandile tiwalandile” in our vernacular meaning “Aunty Daisy we welcome you”. For years, they have familiarized themselves to the sound of my motorbike and married it to my name.

Every day is an opportunity to make a difference and this is what I live for. Having clocked ten years working with Save the Children, one would think the passion of being a Field Facilitator would have died. But it seems as years are going by, the more I fall in love with my job like a beautiful story wine that becomes mellower with time.

Aunty Daisy

It was that time of the year again we do Annual Family Update (AFU). Annual Family Update is an exercise we conduct annually to update child records and photographs of children enrolled into sponsorship. Young boys and girls were excitedly waiting for Aunty Daisy to capture their photographs. They were neatly seated under a mango tree whilst waiting for me to get my camera and tablet out.

Having gotten my gadgets ready, I began orienting them in readiness for the photo taking session. They were already smiling in eagerness- grinning from ear to ear. One after another they came. “Can I see myself please”? They would ask and at the sight of their photograph they would burst in laughter. “Ah I want another photo.” In no time, the day was already over having captured 100 photos of learners. My arms were aching and the feet got swollen, having stood for long the whole day.

Daisy showing Angella her picture

It was like this each and every day for three months. Regardless of the hurdles, the beauty of the smiles was my consolation and knowing these the lives of these children will be greatly impacted. Thank you to sponsorship for giving me an opportunity to make lasting changes.

Cradle Ceremony for First Baby

By: Jamila Matin Aziz, Education Senior Officer , Saripul Province

Freshqan-e Meyana is one of the villages in the Sancharak District of Sar-i-Pul province. Sponsorship programs started working in Freshqan-e Meyan in 2009. People in the Sancharak district have similar costumes and traditions but it differs slightly from village to village, it happens sometimes that one tradition is only for one village and the neighboring village does not do that.

One of the traditions in the Freshqan-e Meyana village of Saripul province is a cradle ceremony for the first baby. This story is about Bushra, the first baby girl in the family, whose grandmother, Bi Bi Zahrakhal, wants to make her cradle and do the celebration. Bushra is the first baby in her family and according to the custom, her grandmother (mother of Bushra’s mother) should prepare the baby’s complete bed set with the cover-up sheet made of expensive handmade velvet.

The grandmother also prepares several sets of winter and summer clothes, towel, toys, and a bathroom set including, soap, shampoo, and baby powder. BiBi Zahrakhal also prepares clothes for all of her son-in-law’s family members.

Bushra’s father needs to host a party on the day of the ceremony for women who accompany her grandmother. Women of the village first go to Bushra’s grandmother’s house and then take all the things her grandmother prepared including the cradle and bring them to Bushra’s house. Whoever is interested, takes the cradle and sings and dances, and then Bushra’s family welcomes the guests. The singing and dancing takes place in the yard and then they go inside. The guests drink tea and eat candies.

(Right to Left) Zahrakhal, Mahboba, Fatima, and Karima singing and clapping

After singing and drinking, tea time occurs where the gifts are shown to the woman in the room, and then lunch is served. After lunch they put the baby in the cradle and her grandmothers says, “Bushra don’t be afraid of cats’ mews, don’t be afraid of dogs’ barks, and don’t be afraid of motorcycle’s noise.” Usually, in this session, the baby falls asleep and all the guests congratulate the baby’s mother and father. Family members pray for the baby’s wellness and then they leave the baby’s house.

Bushra sleeping inside the cradle