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PICS: Tanzanian albino children receiving prosthetic limbs in US

Two months ago, five albino children from Tanzania were in the US to receive free surgery and prosthetic limbs after being disjointed in brutal, witchcraft-related attacks in their home country. Here is a poignant series of photographs showing different stages of their poignant journey towards healing

It just doesn’t get easier.¬†Words like ‘fury’, ‘anger’, ‘disgust’ and ‘shame’ fail to accurately describe the strong feelings we at TIA feel every time we have to inform you about the violent witchcraft-related acts perpetrated on albino people in some of our neighbouring countries. More so when children are involved. We do, however, insist on sharing these disturbing news with you because, in part, we want you to feel what we feel and perhaps some of you, our readers, live in areas where the horrible beliefs that cause these attacks remain strong.

These pictures are a departure from the grotesque but still speak to one of the biggest problems we are faced with in some regions. Four weeks ago, we told you about a group of Tanzanian albino children who had returned home after receiving free surgery and prosthetic limbs in the United States of America’s¬†Shriners Hospitals for Children, Philadelphia. We recently came across a photo series published by NBC News of the children’s road to healing while abroad. We certainly hope that other African countries can find ‘African solutions’ to this ‘African problem’ so that some day we can bring an end to these destructive belief system and stop looking to the West for welfare.

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Magesa, left, and Lusambo, 5, watch TV at Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia on Aug. 27. Photo: Matt Rourke/AP
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Mwigulu Magesa, 12, receives his prosthetic limb at Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia on Aug. 25. Photo: Matt Rourke/AP
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Baraka Lusambo looks at his prosthetic limb after an occupational therapy session at Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia on Aug. 25. Albino body parts are highly valued in witchcraft and can fetch a high price. Superstition leads many to believe albino children are ghosts who bring bad luck. Others believe the limbs are more potent if the victims scream during amputation. Photo: Matt Rourke/AP
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Emmanuel Rutema, Kabula Masanja, Pendo Noni, Baraka Lusambo and Mwigulu Magesa are led through Times Square by Monica Watson, with the Global Medical Relief Fund (GMRF), in New York on July 28. Photo: Julie Jacobson/AP
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Montanti gives Magesa a kiss as he celebrates his 12th birthday as he celebrates his 12th birthday in New York on July 1. Montanti is the founder and director of the Global Medical Relief Fund. Photo: Julie Jacobson/AP
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Noni, left, and Masanja play a memory card game in New York on July 28. Photo: Julie Jacobson/AP
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Magesa blows up a beach ball while playing in Long Beach Island, N.J. on July 22. Photo: Julie Jacobson/AP
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Montanti places a hand on Noni as Masanja, left, looks on during a prosthetic limb fitting at Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia on Aug. 25. Photo: Matt Rourke/AP
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Lusambo plays before an occupational therapy session in Philadelphia on Aug. 25. The children have been shielded as much as possible from harsh truths, spared news of other attacks and the disadvantages and discrimination that lie ahead, Montanti said. Lusambo, for instance, does not know his father is accused of involvement in his attack and is under arrest in Tanzania. Photo: Matt Rourke/AP
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Magesa, left, and Rutema are fitted for prosthetic limbs by Luis Velasquez, second left, Lance Harms, center, and Jennifer Stieber, right on July 23. Photo: Matt Rourke/AP
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Noni, 15, and Lusambo wait to be fitted for prosthetic limbs at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia on July 23. Photo: Matt Rourke/AP
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Dr. Scott H. Kozin examines 13-year-old Rutema before his surgery at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia on June 30. Photo: Matt Rourke/AP
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Lusambo holds hands with Elissa Montanati in the Staten Island borough of New York on Sept 21. Photo: Carlo Allegri/Reuters
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Rutema carries a dictionary back to a shelf after working on English language exercises with Magesa on Aug. 29 in Staten Island, N.Y. Rutema’s surgery, attaching a toe to his right hand, several weeks ago was successful and allowed him to grasp objects. Photo: Julie Jacobson/AP
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Rutema, 13, plays Tic-Tac-Toe with Magesa and tutor June Chung in New York on July 28. Photo: Julie Jacobson/AP
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Rutema holds a plush toy that he sleeps with because it makes him feel safe at night on Sept 21 in Staten Island. Rutema can recount his ordeal in hesitant English but has a severe speech impediment. His attackers chopped off one arm and the fingers of the other and tried to pull out his tongue and teeth. He stutters as he describes the attack by strangers wielding machetes and a hammer as he played outside. He spent five months recovering in a local hospital. Photo: Carlo Allegri/Reuters
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Magesa and Rutema, right, put on their prosthetic arms as Lusambo (center) looks on in their bedroom in the Staten Island borough of New York on Sept 21. Photo: Carlo Allegri/Reuters
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With the help of volunteer life guards, Magesa, Lusambo, Rutema and Noni swim and play in a pool in Oyster Bay, N.Y. on July 20. The Tanzanian government has banned witch doctors to stop the body parts trade, but when these children go home, they face a future that can be bleak. Photo: Julie Jacobson/AP
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The children play in the backyard in the Staten Island borough of N.Y. on Sept 21. Carlo Allegri/Reuters
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Lusambo plays with a new soccer ball in New York on July 15. Photo: Julie Jacobson/AP

All images courtesy of NBC News.

 

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