It is a diary of events, for worst or best things that happen in one's life. They can include even photographs of their departed loved ones or those of people still surviving. All this is done to provide a page when there is no shoulder to lean on for orphans and other vulnerable children. They call them memory books.
Neatly covered with empty sugar packaging to avoid folding ends, the Grade One size writing books are now a common feature to nearly 100 orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) from villages around Nyava Business Centre in Musana communal lands as a source of comfort.
"I find them very useful because I am able to reflect back to my past exciting moments when I am depressed.
"It shows me that each passing day has its own expectations. Some days are good but others are bad. Days are never the same," said 12-year-old Trish Manyowa from Gwashavanhu village.
Trish, who lost her mother in 2006 and has never seen her father, says she stays with her memory book at home and records her moments whenever they occur.
"I usually refer to my book when I am deeply pained. Reading through other exciting moments in my book brings back my mind to normalcy and also recording down those sad moments helps pouring my heart out. It is as if I am speaking to someone," she said.
She said so far, the best day recorded in her book is December 11 2005, when her aunt surprised her with a birthday party.
"It was the first time that something good was done specifically for me. I felt loved, I felt like any other child in my community and wish more of these days come my way," she reflected with a smile on her face.
Trish said she even included the pictures taken at her party in her memory book. Trish, however, said there were other problems the memory book could not solve. These include school fees and medical fees.
"I am always sick but sometimes I fail to go to clinic because my grandparents do not have the money. They are both unemployed and survive on gardening as a source of livelihood," she said.
She also said she walks more than 10 kilometres to school, where she is in Form One and would appreciate it if she gets a bicycle.
While some of the children are blessed to find comfort in memory books, for others it is still a dream to come true. Eddington Chirimuuta from Mangezha village said he could not get the two rand to buy the exercise book.
The Grade Five pupil said sometimes he did not go to school because his brother whom he stays with could not afford to buy him the required books.
At school, his fees are paid for by the Basic Assistance Education Module, a Government programme for orphans and other vulnerable children.
"I also need the memory book but I cannot afford to have one. I think it is a good thing to have and record one's best and worst moments. If I get money, I will definitely buy one," he said.
The memory books are kept by the children at home but are submitted to teachers at Nyava Community Youth Centre from time to time.
"We want these memory books to be able to put back a smile on children's faces whenever they feel down, encourage them to confront life's challenges and comfort them when they feel lonely," said Ms Blessing Mangezvo, the OVCs teacher.
Ms Mangezvo, whose job is to educate and assist the children with psychosocial support outside their family structures, said some of the guardians looking after the children abused them.
"Sometimes, if you ask the children, they won't tell you exactly what happens at their homes but if you ask them to write down you'll see shocking revelations of abuse to the children. So we think these books assist us knowing who is having what problems at home," she said.
She said from the memory books, they now know that other children sometimes sleep on an empty stomach as punishment for not doing certain expectations of their guardians.
Questioned on why some of the children were writing their HIV status in the memory books, Ms Mangezvo said it was their own choice.
According to the National Aids Council, while nearly 1,6 million children in Zimbabwe were made vulnerable by HIV and Aids, only 5 000 of them are living in institutions and the rest are being cared for by families or communities.
"The family-centred, community-based approach needs to be strengthened in order to provide comprehensive care and support for orphans and vulnerable children," says NAC in its foreword to the programme area of OVCs.