Today Hamida’s little boy received his name. And I had the incredible honor of choosing it for him. His parents now considered me being an elder and gave me a few names of which I could choose one from.
After they explained the different meanings of the names on hand, I decided on the name Rehan Ali, which means Heaven’s flower.
Today Hamida and her mother performed a Sindhi ritual in which the baby receives his name, gets his first bath and hair shaved off.
First the hair is very carefully shaved off with a raiser and water, after which he is rubbed in with oil. During the application of the oil, he is massaged heavily on the face and chest. The oil then gets washed off with water and after drying he is powdered with talc powder. He is dressed and they tie black rope around his hands, feet and make a necklace. The face and eyes are marked with black kohl pencil. And lastly they tie him into a cloth and wrap him like he’s a little present. Neighbors place money in his hand and the father offers sweets to his guests. It was great to see the entire ritual from start to finish.
At the moment I’m going into my final week here and this will be one of the last times that i’ll be able to visit Hamida and her wonderful family. They have become such a big part of my life here in Pakistan in the past two months and I’ve really been accepted by them as part of their family. They wanted to return to their village after the birth of Rehan Ali, but sadly the water is still there and they now received rumors about new flooding with the opening and overflowing of a nearby dam. So their future remains unsure and their stay in the camp might be prolonged even further.
Hamida was feeling weak today. Returning to the camp a day after the delivery, she immediately slipped back into her role of caretaker of her children. Lack of vitamins and a varied healthy diet are of course also causing her fatigue. The baby was breathing very irregularly at times and Dr. Sadjjad who took me to see them today was worried that only 6 days after birth the baby might have already caught an infection because of the bad living conditions in the camp.
I hope to visit them again before I go and can only hope the baby, Hamida and her amazing family will get through this ordeal safely.