Before this, though, in mid-December, Amanda and I visited the Buhangija School for Blind and Albino children in Shinyanga. She wanted me to give the matrons (formerly known as carers) a talk on caring. I drew up a list of ground rules; at the center I got each matron to stand with the children she's in charge of and photographed them. These group photos will go up on the walls with the rules. If there is a problem with a child: neglect, abuse, and the loss of the child's clothing or other possessions, the head teacher is able to see at a glance who is responsible. The matrons are given a score of points; for every rule broken, a point will be deducted. If she reaches zero, she'd face suspension without remuneration. On the other hand, good leadership and care will also be noted and an employee of the month would be chosen every month. The talk was optimistically received and the matrons promised that they would follow the rules and so, help improve the children's lives.
Each matron posed with the group she is responsible for
We never visit the school without taking treats for the children. This day we took milk powder which Amanda made up in situ in a huge bucket and served cups of this with bread rolls drizzled with tomato ketchup. (a top favorite treat of the children!)
Above, one of the matrons hands out rolls while I distributed cups of milk
Although we're all aware of how endangered the Albino child is, and have read on the Internet about the atrocities performed on them in the name of traditional medicine, I had never actually seen the result of such barbarianism. Until that day at the school. Our driver, Edward pointed out this young girl (below) and said she'd had a limb chopped off before someone got to know about it and brought her to this center and relative safety. I approached the girl and by telling her that she looked pretty (which she did) and asking if I could take her picha, I managed a photo of her.
This young girl's arm was amputated for medicine
before she was brought to Buhangija Center and safety
As if that's not bad enough, three months ago, another young girl, Anna, (below) was brought to the center. She was in an advanced state of pregnancy. Three men in her village had raped her; the baby was born soon after she arrived at the center. We visited her and the baby a week later, taking baby clothes for the newborn, and gifts and treats for the sixteen year-old-mama. I spoke to her and said it would be good if she breast-fed the baby. She looked very shell-shocked and didn't utter a word while we were there. A few days later Amanda told me that this young girl is a deaf mute. So when she was being attacked by three grown men, she couldn't even shout for help. (Neither could she hear or reply to any of our conversation the day we visited her)
The new mama, Anna enjoying treats at the center
Amanda with Anna's baby: Sophia. A double shock for an Albino mama
I'm linking my post to Our World Tuesday which you can access here
(To be continued in a much more cheerful and festive vein)