|From Lynne Rathgeber, Board Chair of Kiwimbi International |
I just returned from another wonderful trip to Kenya and have lots of stories to tell and experiences to share! One story serves as a reminder of what a difference YOU are making through your support of Kiwimbi.
While in Kenya, we helped some of the students write and present their own creative writing project. One of the students who participated was a young woman whom I at first assumed was Arab, although not typical of the area, because she had light skin and was covered from head to toe in what might have been a religious garment.
I was wrong. She has albinism--no pigmentation in her skin--and various related complications including issues with her vision (she wears glasses and still reads with her nose practically touching the paper), illnesses that have impacted her ability to attend school, and a susceptibility to skin disease that forces her to keep herself covered. Yet she speaks English well, is relatively outgoing, and is a happy participant in our writing projects.
The first time I noticed her was when she came to the creative writing session. She was proudly holding Kiwimbi's first published book of student autobiographies, a book that will be available soon. Hers was one of the stories in the book. Her expression as she held the book and read through her story was priceless!
Clearly motivated, she worked hard preparing a creative writing piece that was modeled after a fairy tale. It was a longer story than most and she stayed late to finish it.
When I came to understand her condition as presented in a recent Associated Press article on albinism in Africa (click on the link below), I was even more impressed and thoroughly moved. Her autobiographical story reveals that she is from Tanzania originally, and came to Kenya through an unfortunate sequence of events. Her life hasn't been easy. She is an orphan and has had to rely on the support of poor relatives.
African children of albinism suffer greatly. I can only wonder how much more difficult her life might be.
for AP article on albino children in Africa.