Bibiana and Tindi: Introducing me to Their Experiences and Living Beyond the Cultural Constraints Commonly Associated with Albinism in Tanzania
Until just a few months ago I knew very little about the condition known as ‘Albinism.’ I live in the United States so I had limited exposure or interaction with people with this genetic condition. All this changed when I was introduced to Bibiana and Tindi. These two teenage girls are from Tanzania and their life experiences have thrust them into advocating a broader awareness for Albinism.
- I did not know that while Albinism is a recessive gene there are countries and populations with a significantly higher occurrence of this condition. For instance while the United States has an occurrence of 1 in 200,000, countries like Tanzania have rates of Albinism of 1 in 1,300.
- I did not know that in this day and age there are places where Albino children are attached and maimed to harvest body parts for profit. Tanzania is one of the countries in East Africa that this medical-spiritual practice is perpetuated by witch doctors and the ‘unknown’ source of funds that perpetuates this evil practice.
Bibiana was attacked during the night after she lost her father to AIDs with men yielding machetes when she was only nine/ten with her younger sister Tindi in the room. Her right leg above the knee and two fingers on her right hand were lost during this brutal attack. It is inconceivable to imagine going through such a horrific experience, yet I will tell you these girls are survivors.
These images are a testament to the special bond between these sisters and the resolve they have to be more than a statistic and bound by this life experience. They are sweet girls with dreams and aspirations to continuing their education being the teenagers they are. The NGO African Millennium Foundation (AMF) raised funds and leveraged connections to bring Bibiana to the US to be fitted for a new prosthetic leg. Their story is powerful and has inspired others to action like 13-year old Naria Slann who established a fundraising effort called “A Sisters Village” to raise funds to send these girls to boarding school in the US in order to ensure that they have an opportunity to fulfill their dreams without the fear they experience at home. Go to the link below to provide your assistance to this worthwhile cause.