Muhammad Sufiyan (YES 2018 - 2019, Pakistan, hosted by AFS in Portland, OR)
When I applied for the YES program and was selected for the interview, I was asked why should we select you? Why not others? I replied that if you will select me I will prove that I will be the best student for this program because I know a lot about my country. I always had a dream to share my culture, to create a better image of my country and the Muslim world. The day when I was finally selected I bought lots of cultural gifts for my host family.
I can say I am the luckiest person to be hosted by the best family ever. When I first arrived at my host family's home, I presented all the cultural gifts and asked them to mark their calendar for the first Sunday of December. My host family asked why first Sunday? So I explained that Sindhi Cultural Day, which is also known as 'Aekta jo ddihaarro', is widely celebrated with enthusiasm to reflect and celebrate the centuries-old rich culture of Sindh (a providence of Pakistan).
The day is celebrated all over Sindh, and among the Sindhis around the world. On this jubilation, people gather in all major cities of Sindh at Press Clubs, and other places and arrange various activities of literary (poetic) gatherings, Mach Katchehri (gathering in a place and sitting round in a circle and the fire on sticks in the center), musical concerts, seminars, lecture programs and rallies. It is also a symbol of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization which is five thousand years old and the ajrak and topi we wear is also five thousand years old designed pattern. Each year Sindhis celebrate Sindhi Cultural day on the first Sunday of December in order to show unity and peace among all Sindhis. People across Sindh exchange gifts of Ajrak and Topi at various ceremonies. Even the children and women dress up in Ajrak, assembling at the grand gathering, where famous Sindhi singers sing Sindhi songs, which depicts peace and love message of Sindh. The musical performances of the artists compel the participants to dance on Sindhi tunes and the national song ‘Jeay Sindh Jeay-Sindh Wara Jean’.
My host family was really impressed to know about my culture and I can't put their excitement in words. They really loved the history of my culture and I am teaching them my language as well. On the first Sunday of December this year, my host family listened to some peace and love songs about Sindhi culture and went out to show our Sindhi culture. We went to Sindhi restaurant and ate some authentic food. I am really thankful to them that they celebrated it with me and wore Sindhi traditional clothes.