Monday, December 3, 2012

December 3, 2012 - Tough Life

This is kind of a random blog post, but I haven't written much about Tanzania in awhile so I thought I would share something new.  One of the things we have noticed since we moved to Dar is how many people with Albinism (also called "Albinos", although sometimes people think that is a derogatory term, which is not how I intend it) live here.  We noticed some Albinos in Kenya, but here in Dar they are a much bigger population. My sister also just emailed me this article from NPR about Albinism in Tanzania.

Tanzania has one of the highest populations of Albinos in the world: 1 in every 1,400 people is born with Albinism.  To be honest with you, I used to think that being born an African woman would be one of the hardest things to be - because African women have so many challenges to overcome in their lives.  But now I really think that being born an African Albino (an African Albino Woman too?!) would be even more difficult.  

Before I read this article I didn't know that 98% of Tanzanian Albinos die of skin cancer before they are 40 years old.  I also didn't know that the killing of Albinos is worse in Tanzania than any other African country; there have 100 known violent attacks against albinos in the last 6 years.  There are witch doctors who believe in the "magic" of Albino skin and people will kill them for their body parts.  Other people believe they are evil.  

I was encouraged to read that the Government of Tanzania is increasing efforts to support people with Albinism here.  But I also think they have a long way to go.


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