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"The person who shies at the possibility of increased responsibilities or at the prospect of future uncertainties is hardly worthy of life itself, for life consists of uncertainties, problems and challenges of various types."

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Under the Same Sun - A site out to fight the cause of the Albinos

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Albino child attacked with machete while on mother’s back

This article first appeared in Nipashe(a Kiswahili newspaper)on 13th February, 2010 and was translated into English by Jean Burke

An albino infant Fatuma Khalfani (1) was admitted to Tumbi hospital of the Coast region after being seriously injured on her left leg by people suspected of being traders of albino-body parts.

According to the mother, Rukia Khalfani (32), resident of Ruvu of Bagamoyo district, the incident took place at the end of last week when she was outside her home at about 9 pm whilst carrying her child on her back.

Rukia said that when outside, she was suddenly attacked with machetes on her back where her child was being carried, which injured her child on the thigh.
She said she cried out for help but the person attacked with the machete again injuring her child behind the left knee.

"I ran inside but that person, wearing Maasai clothes, continued to follow and hit me with an axe on my thigh and face and then my husband, Mohamed Hussein,who was inside the house, went outside and looked around everywhere but couldn’t see anyone.

She said they then rang the police and went to the Teule hospital for treatment.
Rukia, mother of five children of whom two are albino, has appealed to the government to consider the possibility of renting a room for them outside the area because she is frightened to return to her house due to the frequent threats following the recent emerging wave of albino murders.

"We are progressing well with treatment, and I thank the nurses and doctors, but I fear that when I am discharged, I don’t know where I will go. I am very scared to return. My house is behind a large forest, so I am not at peace because there have been frequent threats that I and my child could be killed."

The Police Commander of the Coast region, Absalom Mwakyoma, said police are investigating this incident to find out whether the attacker was an albino-murderer or an armed robber.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Two caught selling albino body parts

POLICE in Kagera Region have arrested two people who were allegedly looking for a customer of albino body parts.

Kagera Regional Police Commander (RPC) Henry Salewi told reports in Bukoba that the suspects were arrested with the human body parts....

''The suspects were arrested on Wednesday (February 3). The arrest was made after police got a tip that two residents of Ngara were looking for someone to buy albino body parts"...

...there is an international
criminal network involving suspects in Tanzania and neighbouring Burundi...

Read the Rest Here

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

ALBINO KILLINGS: Obama asked to put pressure on Kikwete

Mariamu Stanford talking to a journalist

An American Congressman wants President Barack Obama to put diplomatic pressure on the Kikwete Government to end the albino killings in parts of the country...

The American politician is using the opportunity to raise international attention on the menace in Tanzania, in which over 50 albinos have been killed in the last four years in an orgy fuelled by witchcraft-related beliefs. Some 28 albinos were slaughtered in 2008 alone, according to official government figures...

During her stay in the US, Mariamu and fellow albinos from Northern Virginia met with Mr Connolly, who pledged to introduce a House Resolution, condemning the attacks on people with albinism in East Africa, and to work with American and Tanzanian government officials to stop the killings.

Mariamu travelled to the US last December for two weeks and was fitted with artificial arms donated by Mr Elliot Weintrob of Orthotic Prosthetic Centre in Fairfax, Virginia, and she also underwent intensive physical therapy.

She also met Ms Susan DuBois, who has since formed an organisation in her name and dedicated it to ending the slaughter of people with albinism in East Africa.

The "Asante Mariam" organisation launched in Virginia last week will campaign to increase awareness of the immediate and long-term threats to albinos East Africa.

"As a mother of two children with albinism, I was deeply shaken when I first heard about the killings in Tanzania," said Ms DuBois, the founder and executive director of "Asante Mariamu."

Read the Rest of the ARTICLE HERE

Read Also

Read how this blog first told the Mariam Stanford tragedy

Monday, February 1, 2010

In My Genes [Trailer]

Documentary by Lupita Nyong'o

IN MY GENES Trailer from Lupita Nyong'o on Vimeo.

Life, for Mariam Stanford, will never be the same again

Story courtesy of The Guardian on Sunday (31st January, 2010)
The 28-year-old woman whose hands were chopped off in a gruesome albino attack in October 2008 is currently in the United States undergoing treatment to receive prosthetic arms.

Mariam Stanford has suffered tremendous strife since thugs left her for dead in her home in Ntubeye village, Ngara district, and made off with her hands, presumably to sell on the black market to those who believe albino body parts bring good luck.

The most basic daily activities that most take for granted are now arduous procedures for Stanford, requiring tremendous patience and poise.

For example, to make a phone call, she slowly places her lips to her cell phone like someone preparing to kiss a lover, and she then dials the number using her mouth before maneuvering the phone to her ears to listen.

Stanford, the mother of a 3-year-old son, now depends on her mother for help doing most things around the house, she said in a recent interview.

"I can't feed myself, I can't wash myself, can't cook or farm,” she said, glancing at the remains of hands. "My life will never be the same again.”

Although Stanford was suffering when she spoke with The Guardian on Sunday just a couple of months ago, a ‘good Samaritan’ flew her to the United States in early December to receive treatment and prosthetic arms, she said. She is expected to return to Tanzania early next month with fully functional mechanical hands.

But no amount of medical treatment will erase the memory of Stanford’s attack that night, on October 18, 2008. Stanford, who was three months pregnant at the time, had eaten dinner with her family before wishing them a good night like any other nights, but little did she know that one of her neighbours was planning to kill her that night.

“What pains me more is that the very same neighbour who has lived near me for years is the one who did this to me,” Stanford said. “Though as a Christian I am taught to forgive seven times seventy, whenever I look at my chopped hands, it becomes very hard for me to forgive those who attacked me. Hopefully God will judge them one day in heaven.”

Though she had been horrified by the killings of albinos that had been escalating in Tanzania's Lake Victoria region, Stanford had never imagined that her neighbour whom she had known for two decades, would see her body as a source of profit.

In her tiny grass-roofed and mud-built house, Stanford locked the doors and went to bed with her two younger sisters and her son, expecting to wake up safely in the morning ready to continue with daily activities.

But on that day her name was on the killers' list who were promised Shs 6 million ($4400) if they could manage to get away with Stanford’s body organs.

"It was around 1am or midnight when I heard people knocking roughly on my door, before they managed to get inside my house," she recalled.

"I tried to cry for help but suddenly my eyes met a sharp torch's light...I saw my neighbour holding a bush knife which he used to attack me."

"He cut my left hand — I cried for help but fell down on the floor before he cut my right hand," Stanford said. “I saw my death coming...I tried to shout loudly for my parents, but no one came."

"I didn't know that when my attacker entered my room, the others had surrounded my parents' house to ensure that nobody came to help me," she said.

After the killers left with Stanford’s hands, her parents finally rushed into her house ready to help, but they were shocked to find her lying in a pool of her own blood.

"I told them that I know my attacker...he is our neighbour," she said. "My parents quickly went to his home and found this man trembling with fresh blood stains on his clothes...they arrested and beat him but he declined to disclose who his accomplices were."

It took nearly five hours to get Stanford to the nearby hospital for treatment. She suffered a miscarriage because of the ordeal.

“That’s how I escaped from hell,” she said as she finished her harrowing account, adding that she is disappointed that over a year since she was attacked the suspects are yet to be convicted. The albino attacks may have stopped recently, but the devastation they have caused still haunts hundreds of victims and their families.

Stanford’s biggest fear is that some of the suspects, who are currently out of jail, may return to kill her before they stand to testify in court in the next few months.

“These are very powerful people who have money…I still fear that they might come after me one day,” she said. “Look at where I live right now, there’s nothing that can stop them from reaching me except God…I have left everything to God.”