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The pain in her eyes

The first time I saw her and her son was at the hospital next door to my office where I had gone to do some photography. It was in the radiation center, where they treat, keloids, skin cancers, metastisis to bone and brain and breast cancer. It is at this center that they have the RT-250 Orthovoltage x-ray machine, the only one of its kind in East and Central Africa.

Her son is an albino. Albinism is caused by a disorder of melanin metabolism and is characterised by white hair, milky white skin and translucent irides. The Albinism Foundation of East Africa is a charitable trust established in Kenya by people with albinism to transform the lives of persons with albinism particularly children. They provide sunscreen, UV protected glasses and medical care to those whose skin is adversely affected. AFAE also works to eliminate the social exclusion and stigma faced by people with albinism.

Then, I saw them the week after. She always holds his hand, and his face is always downcast so you cannot see his eyes. He seems about 12 perhaps he is older and he walks with a limp. He is a little short for his age and always wears a hood over his head. My assumption is he is suffering from some kind of skin condition that requires radiation therapy.

This morning just after I got off the bus, on my way to work I saw them again. Today, I looked into her eyes and there was this really deep pain. He face was blank but her eyes said it all. the pain of seeing her child suffer, of not having enough money to pay of his treatment, the pain of powerlessness.

The children in the picture are from Kitui Integrated School and have been beneficiaries of the care provided by the Albinism Foundation of East Africa.

I wanted to stop her and say something to her, but I did not. I was a coward, scared I would not be able to deal with her pain.

Next time, I promise I will stop her, and do what I can to help. I know it will make a difference no matter how small my gesture will be. I invite you to join me in supporting the Albinism Foundation of East Africa.

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