Families Celebrate in Haiti

Author Portrait_Yamileh Théodore, Sponsorship Servicing Coordinator
Yamileh Théodore

Sponsorship Servicing Coordinator

Save the Children in Haiti

January 26, 2018

Two hours north of Port-au-Prince is a community rich in colorful culture and history. Dessalines, the hometown of the founder of this nation, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, and also named after him, is an interesting place with a historical past and many forts. At these forts, the locals can be seen gathering during certain times of the year, paying tribute, holding voodoo ceremonies and feasting in honor of their patron saints.

Families gathering for mass at the Saint Claire Catholic church.
Families gathering for mass at the Saint Claire Catholic church.

The annual Patron Saint Claire is one of the biggest celebrations in Dessalines and is funded by the mayor, the department senator’s office and other local businesses. The Saint Claire celebrations are held every August 11, and are traditionally considered mostly a festival for socializing. For example, many go to church, share in a family meal and perhaps watch a soccer game together or gather in parks and streets to listen to local bands play kompa music – a type of lively dance music similar to méringue. However, some residents, depending on their beliefs, will wake up at the crack of dawn to go the mass at the Saint Claire Catholic church. These church goers dress in all white and carry a lit candle in a procession, and pray and sing for hours, until the sun comes up.

Alternatively, the voodoo believers have a more colorful and animated ceremony at “la source imperial”, a natural spring, where they dance to the rhythm of drums and sing and clap. Their outfits are a mix of colors from the Haitian flag – blue, red and white – or other vibrant colors with many layers of fabric that helps the dress to swirl and flow when dancing and twirling.

One of the many historic forts in Dessalines.
One of the many historic forts in Dessalines.

To mark the festival this year, Save the Children participated in its own way. With support from our sponsorship teams, we spent two full days taking advantage of the massive gathering of people, speaking with children, teens and adults, to raise awareness on good hygiene practices, nutrition skills and sexual and reproductive health. After the awareness campaigns, we organized quiz-style competitions in which the winners competed for prizes such as hand soap, hygiene kits with soap and chlorine tablets to clean water, backpacks and dictionaries. A stand was even built for condom distribution and HIV testing, in collaboration with local partners like the Claire Heureuse Hospital and the UAS, or Unité d’Arrondissement de Santé Unit Health Department.

How do you celebrate with your family during special times of the year? Do you sing or dance together, like they do in Haiti? Consider writing a letter to tell your sponsored child about how you celebrate holidays. You may find you have more in common than you think!

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

Chain Weaver Grandpa

AfCO Sponsorship Blog Post 2 - May 2012, Author - Shazia Azizzada 2Shazia Azizzada, Sponsorship Management Officer

Faryab, Afghanistan

July 11, 2012


Afghan children, even amid the turmoil of a three-decade war, continue to play traditional games. For 80 years “Baba Zanjeerbaf,”meaning “chain weaver grandpa or old man,” has been a favorite.

AfCO Sponsorship Blog Post 2, May 2012, Photo 1The tradition behind “Baba Zanjeerbaf” tells of a spiritual old man who ties people together with long chains to bind and strengthen them so
that when one is in need they can all help to support them.

The game, played by girls and boys of all ages usually in a group of around 10 to 20, is very common in Faryab and Saripul provinces where we are implementing Sponsorship-funded programs.

From the group one child is chosen as “Baba Zanjeerbaf” and another as the group leader. Holding each other’s hands, the children stand in a line with the group leader and “Baba Zanjeerbad” at each end. The group leader and children then sing a song of questions which are answered by the
“Baba Zanjeerbaf”:

Children: Baba Zanjeerbaf!

Baba Zanjeerbaf: Bali! (Yes)

Children: Baba zanjeer bafti? (Did you weave the chains?)

Baba Zanjeerbaf: Bali! (Yes)

Children: Poshte koh andakhti? (Did you throw them behind
the mountains?)

Baba Zanjeerbaf: Bali! (Yes)

Children: Baba amada? Chi chi aworda? (Did Baba Zanjeerbaf
come? What did he bring?)

Baba Zanjeerbaf: Keshmesh wa Nakhod! Bya wa Bukhor! (Pea and
Raisin! Come and eat!)

Children: Ba sadaie chi beyayem? (Which sound should we come
with?)

Baba Zanjeerbaf: Ba sadaie peshak! (The sound of a cat!)

Children: Meyaw…Meyaw…Meyaw (imitating the sound of cat)

The children then swap positions and start the song again,
this time imitating another pet’s sound. This continues until all the children
have swapped their position and have imitated different pets’ sound, then the
song changes:

Children: Baba Zanjeerbaf!

Baba Zanjeerbaf: Bali! (Yes)

Children: Zanjeer ma bafti? (Did you weave my chains?)

Baba Zanjeerbaf: Bafta shod! (It is made.)

Children: Zanjeer mahkam ast ya shol? (Are they strong or
weak?)

Baba Zanjeerbaf: Kash ko wa bibin! (Pull it and see.)

AfCO Sponsorship Blog Post 2, May 2012, Photo 5Then the “Baba Zanjeerbaf” pulls from one end of the line and the group leader pulls from other, until the chain breaks. The child where the chain breaks is penalized by the group leader to sing a song, dance or tell a joke. The side of the chain with the most children is the winner.

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to find out more.

The New Year festival (Nauroz) in Afghanistan

AfCO March 2012 Blog Post Author Photo with children 2Dr. Sohail Azami, Sponsorship Manager

Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan

April 20, 2012


Nauroz, the New Year Festival, takes place on the first day of the Afghan month Hamal. Nauroz, which means “new day”, has been celebrated in this region for at least 3,000 years. It marks the start of the solar year and the first day of spring. The festival is rooted in the Zoroastrian religion, a major religion once practiced here.

Today, Afghans celebrate Nauroz with family and friends, enjoying traditional foods. Special to this holiday is haft mewa, or seven fruits. Haft mewa includes almond, pistachio, walnut, raisins, apricots and dates which are soaked in water overnight.

Another holiday dish is Samanak, which is made from wheat germ and slowly cooled until it becomes a creamy and sweet pudding. For New Year’s dinner, an Afghan tradition is to prepare seven types of food whose name start with the Afghan letter of “Seen”, the “S” sound. We call this special meal haft seen, or seven “S”.

AfCO Sponsorship Blog Post - Photo 3 - March 2012Many cities in Afghanistan host festivals to celebrate Nauroz. In Mazar-i-Sharif, the biggest city in northern Afghanistan, thousands gather at the historical shrine of Hazrat Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed and the fourth Caliph of Islam. Famous for its Blue Mosque and centuries old history, the shrine is deeply respected by Afghans. T Mazar-i-Sharif also hosts a Red Rose Festival, named for the red roses that naturally grow in the deserts nearby.

New Year’s Day is right after the schools’ winter break and on the 3rd day of the year the schools reopen. To celebrate the holiday, children receive new clothes and enjoy picnics with their families. They also enjoy playing soccer, volleyball, playing music, singing songs, dancing and flying kites.

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to find out more

Culture Snapshot: Xingomana

Joao Sitoi Headshot Joao Sitoi, Sponsorship Manager

Maputo, Mozambique

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Save the Children has sponsorship programs in over twenty countries in five regions of the world! Our Culture Snapshot series highlights unique elements of local culture from each of the regions our sponsorship programs operate in. Check out the last post, "Culture Snapshot: Blind-Cat Game Played by Children in Egypt."

_______________________

Cultural dance is very popular in Mozambique. The most popular dance in the rural community of 3 de Fevereiro – “3rd of February” – is xingomana, which is performed by both children and adults.  Xingomana, accompanied by songs rich in meaning and context, has also become an important tool to communicate educational messages such as the dangers of early pregnancies and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS.



 Watch Mozambicans dancing throughout Nampula!

Do you like to dance? Tell us about your favorite style or reason to dance in the comments section below. We'd love to hear from you!

_______________________

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to find out more

Culture Snapshot: Blind-Cat Game Played by Children in Egypt

Generic Ahmed Abdel Hamid, Sponsorship Manager

Cairo, Egypt

Friday, April 8, 2011


Save the Children has sponsorship programs in over twenty countries in five regions of the world! Our Culture Snapshot series highlights unique elements of local culture from each of the regions our sponsorship programs operate in. We hope you enjoy and will visit again in the coming weeks to learn about each region. Check out the last post, "Culture Snapshot: Carom – A Favorite Game of Children in Bangladesh"

_______________________

The “Blind Cat” or “El Qota El Aamyaa” in Arabic is a team game where children decide who will be the blind cat and who will search for the others while his/her eyes are blindfolded.

Children Toss to Decide who Starts (1)
After selecting who will start, the team creates borders for the playing area.

Children play Blind-cat 2
Then the selected blind cat tries to catch one of the children who will then become the blind cat.

Children play Blind-cat 1
The child who plays the blind cat focuses on his/her hearing skill to figure out where each child is.

Coming soon, learn about xingomana, a cultural dance in Mozambique!

_______________________

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to find out more

 

Culture Snapshot: Carom – A Favorite Game of Children in Bangladesh

Tahmina Haider Headshot

Tahmina Haider, Sponsorship Manager

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Monday, April 4, 2011


Save the Children has sponsorship programs in over twenty countries in five regions of the world! Our Culture Snapshot series highlights unique elements of local culture from each of the regions our sponsorship programs operate in. We hope you enjoy and will visit again in the coming weeks to learn about each region.Check out the last post "Culture Snapshot: Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas Recipe."

_______________________

The game Carom is very popular among adolescent boys in Meherpur, Bangaldesh and a Carom board can be found in many homes. The game is played with two teams and each team picks a color and tries to win chips of that color. The winning team scores points for each opposition chip remaining on the board, and extra points if they can take the special red piece! While playing the game the boys talk about many things like sports, hobbies, and even their problems.
Cultural corner boys playing Carom 2
 Stay tuned for a common game played by children in Egypt—Blind Cat.

_______________________

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to find out more

Culture Snapshot: Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas Recipe

Katherine Golden Headshot

Katherine Golden, Sponsorship Manager

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Friday, April 1, 2011


Save the Children has sponsorship programs in over twenty countries in five regions of the world! Our Culture Snapshot series highlights unique elements of local culture from each of the regions our sponsorship programs operate in. We hope you enjoy and will visit again in the coming weeks to learn about each region.Check out our last post "Culture Snapshot: Bolivian Music"

_______________________

This is a fun meal for the family to make together. Caeleigh, a sponsored child, says, I love to help my mom in the kitchen. We make enchiladas for our family together.”

Green-chile-enchiladas (1)
 INGREDIENTS:

 • 3-5 chicken breasts, boneless

• 1 medium onion, chopped

• 2 Tbsp. margarine

• 1 10 oz. can cream of chicken soup

• 1 10 oz. can cream of mushroom soup

• 1 ¾ cups frozen chopped green chili, drained

• ½ cup broth saved from chicken

• 1 12 ct. pkg. corn tortillas

• 1 lb. cheese, grated (cheddar, jack or mixture)

 DIRECTIONS:

1. Boil chicken, cool and shred breasts with a fork or your fingers.  Be sure to save the broth the chicken boiled in.

2. Preheat oven to 325º F.

3. Sauté onion in margarine until slightly soft.  Combine onion with soups, chili, broth and stir.

4. Tear 6 tortillas into small pieces and cover the bottom of a 9” x 13” pan. Spread ½ the chicken over the tortilla pieces, then ½ the sauce, and ½ the cheese. Repeat for several layers until you use up all your ingredients.

5. Bake 30-40 minutes, until very hot, bubbly and slightly browned.

6. Serve and enjoy!  Makes eight to ten 8 oz. servings.

In next week's Culture Snapshot we head to Bangladesh to learn how to play the game Carom!

_______________________

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to find out more.

Culture Snapshot: Bolivian Music

Carmen Escobar Headshot

Carmen Escobar, Sponsorship Manager

Oruro, Bolivia

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Save the Children has sponsorship programs in over twenty countries in five regions of the world! Sponsorship gives you the unique opportunity to connect with a child. By building a friendship with a sponsored child you have the opportunity to learn a variety of new things about the child and area that you help support. 

Time and again sponsors rave about how fascinating is to learn about other cultures! This short series highlights unique elements of local culture from each of the regions our sponsorship programs operate in. We hope you enjoy and will visit again in the coming weeks to learn about each region.

_______________________

Rosario and Yveth are best friends and love to play music. The 13-year-old girls play a variety of Bolivian instruments such as the quena (bamboo flute), zampona (pan pipes), tarka (traditional flute of the Andes) as well as sheep hooves, used as castanets, and Spanish guitar. Rosario says, “Our identity is in our instruments. I think that Bolivian music should be valued by young people.”

Rosario playing the tarka
Rosario and Yveth started composing their own music and lyrics. Music has become a way to express their feelings. As Yveth puts it, “The melodies we create are ours and playing them can be described as something magical.”

Listen to a clip from a performance at Bolivian Heritage Festival:

Over the next few weeks we hope you will come back to read about cultural information from all of our sponsorship regions! Coming up next, a recipe for green chili chicken enchiladas from our Western Region office in the United States.

 _______________________

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to find out more