Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Pre-Christmas activities (Part One)

I've posted extensively of various Christmas festivities in the past week. However in the fortnight leading up to Christmas, we also treated the children of Shinyanga to a Christmas party.

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)


  1. Aw such heart break. I've often read about the atrocities against albino children. Sadly when people are uneducated and believe in ancient knowledge only, these poor dears don't stand much of a chance without outside help. Thank God there is a center there in Shingyanga and that you and the other ladies are helping to bring them some of the knowledge and treatment that is more acceptable and loving. God bless you and all the ladies who do this work. I just know it is making a huge difference. Big hugs. xx

  2. It's so hard to fathom why someone could think these children just because albino have no more rights than everyone else. I am sickened by that thought. Thank you for being part of their lives and training their matrons.

  3. Such a sad story about the ill treatment of these children. I hope the school is doing a good job in making them feel better. Well done for your effort to support them.

  4. Hi Jo. Yes while in Malawi. Judith told me all about these girls sufferings. I was so shocked however you and other ladies are doing a great job in visiting, encouraging and bringing them treats. I was wondering how far away is the centre from your place? My friend Eileen won't be coming for a meal tonight as another friend of her's mother has died and she needs her but we will meet for some birding and lunch.

  5. What an awful life these poor children had ! When I think of the rotten spoilt kids in my surroundings ! It's very good to make a reward system, that works better then all punishments and also the point system, is an excellent idea !

  6. JO, it is sad to read how these children were abused..I am so glad they have a safe place to stay. Thank God they have you and Amanda to help them! Enjoy your Tuesday!

  7. Horrific, these stories of mistreatment. I'm sure your visits are looked forward to and appreciated by these precious children. I can't help wondering what will happen to them when they are old enough to leave the protection of the children's home.

  8. this post breaks my heart and brought tears to my eyes... tears for them and tears of joy for you and your friends who do what you can to make things better. God bless you and your friends and the caregivers.. i wish every child in America could read this post....

  9. heartbreaking. you bring it to us personally. we need to hear it and understand so we can truly be grateful for all we have and realize so many of the basest of needs for food and safety are not given to all. bless those kids and their matrons, too.

  10. Oh how sad!!! You are such a wonderful and caring person Jo!
    Bless them all!


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