Saturday we visited Buhangija School in Shinyanga district; this is another government school for the visually impaired. There are 68 Albino children, 40 non-Albino children with vision impairments and 20 deaf children. In addition to these 128 children, there are 46 children who attend other schools who live at Buhangija during their school breaks and call it “home”.
There are a number of women with Albino infants/toddlers who live at the school to protect their children from those who would abduct them in their villages. These women help out at the school with cleaning, cooking and other chores in exchange for the protection the school offers their small children.
The staff was very open and congenial and the children were excited to have visitors. After their lunch of “uji” (a thin porridge made from ground millet and water), we served all the staff and children with sodas. This is a rare treat for the children and staff. We also handed out marbles and jump ropes to the children and 20 reams of Braille paper for the school. Each child also got a couple of pieces of candy to round out their special treat for the day.
The Shinyanga District Education Director was there to greet us as well; she is an Albino herself.
The school has many needs and we left with a long list of needs for the school and for the children.
Our first effort will be to fix the pump on the school well so they can have enough water and also to construct a laundry area so they can wash their clothes in better conditions.
A little boy, Eric, pictured above kept asking me for money. I finally asked him why he needed money. He said, “I want to buy a hat”. His head and neck were sunburned and he had sores on his head. So, we are also going to attempt to locate and buy as many hats as possible this week to protect the children from sunburn. Hopefully, Eric will get his hat this week.