I am Albert Muma age 11 and my sister is Charity Muma age 7. We are from Nchiengi district in the Northern part of Zambia at the boarder of Zambia and the Republic of Congo. Most of our relatives live in Congo and my parents usually go to Congo for visiting and trading. Most of our relatives from my mother’s side are Albinos and they are not educated.

When I was born my mother hid me in the house since she never wanted people to know I was born. For almost one year and four months I was a secret with no vaccinations, very little care and no birth certificate.

Due to extreme neglect, I developed sores all over my body and I started crying because of the pain. That was the time our neighbors discovered that there was a baby in my home. My mother was taken to the police station and I was taken to a mission hospital where I stayed for almost six months under intensive care. I was taken care of by my grandmother. I love my grandmother so much. When I was better, I went back home with my grandmother, while my mother was in jail for five years and two months and my father was living at my step mother’s place in Congo.

One Sunday my grandmother went to the wedding ceremony of my uncle in Mansa and it was the first white wedding in the family.  My cousins also went and my grandmother took me. It was during that wedding that my grandmother learned about St Mary’s Special School in Kawambwa. We were lucky for most of the people gathered knew about the school. At that time, I was four years old. My uncle phoned the headteacher and lucky enough, Sr Bwalya Agnes was also in Mansa for her own business. After a long discussion, my family decided that I remain in Mansa staying with my cousin. While I was in Mansa, I learned that my mother was in Mansa prison and she was about to end her prison term.  One day my family members went there to see my mother, I was among the team. My mother cried bitterly upon seeing me.

Two months later, she was released from jail. After three months, she asked to go home and I remained with my cousin who took care of me very well until such a time when I was taken to school. God is good, my mother conceived and my sister Charity was born, also an Albino. My mother accepted her and she was brought up just like any other child in the family. I am with her at St Mary’s Special School in Kawambwa.

It is because of my experience, that my cousin Ester, who is also an Albino, was able to be in school, as well as our neighbor Micah who was born blind. Let me say this, rejection from your own parent is painful and it causes harm to one’s personality. I do not love my mother much, only my grandmother, she is so precious to me. The community has welcomed me because of my grandmother, who accepted me.

My home village is very close to the Republic of Congo where ritual killers of albinos are very common. Because of this I am not allowed to mingle freely with the community children, fearing attacks or kidnaping by the ritual killers. I must always be under the watch of a relative when I am out of the house or playing with others.

I always appreciate the importance of St Mary’s School in Kawambwa and I am looking nice because of what the school is doing for me. When I went back to my home village in Chiengi, everyone was surprised by my abilities. I was able to sweep, help my grandmother with house chores, even go to church and pray before and after meals. My people in my village now understand the importance of education and that is why Ester, Micah and my young sister Charity have also started school.

We are very grateful to the Canadians who give us so much help. God bless you all. Thank you.

 Inverness County Cares (ICC) is a local charitable organization, founded in 2012 and based in Inverness County, NS, Canada. ICC works in partnership with Chalice.ca, a Canadian charity, based in Bedford, Nova Scotia. Chalice provides guidance and assistance to help ICC provide a better life for the children at the Kawambwa schools. The Kawambwa Project involves supporting two schools for albino and visually impaired students, in Northern Zambia. Inverness County Cares always welcomes new members. Individuals who wish to donate, can use the donate button on our website   https://invernesscountycares.com When using E-transfer, please include your mailing address for CRA tax receipts and a thank you message.  

E-transfer address:  [email protected] or send a cheque to Inverness County Cares, 5414 Route 19, Judique, NS, Canada, B0E1P0. Taxation receipts provided for USA and Canada.