Barbara Merrill describes herself in her email signature as a “Certified Ergonomist and A Very Good Friend” – and she is indeed both. Barbara is also a parishioner at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church and a person with albinism (PWA).
In these last two capacities, Barbara celebrated her retirement by traveling to Tanzania to help albino children and their families. She worked with a Cerebral Palsy Clinic, visited the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Step by Step school and other schools in Arusha, participated in an Albinism Conference to educate village leaders in Ngorongoro Crater, and visited an Asante Miriamu Foundation clinic and children’s camp in Kigoma and Kabanga.
This month, Barbara gave a report to St. Andrew’s called “Trip to Tanzania” about her 5 November 2016 – 12 December 2016 travels. Some facts she presented about Tanzania:
- 70% of the population is rural
- Capital Dar es Salaam and Dodoma
- 68% below poverty level
- Large percentage of population under 15 years old Generally high birth rate about 5 per woman
- High infant mortality rate – nutrition, early and frequent pregnancies, inadequate maternal health.
- Tourism is about 20% of the Tanzanian Economy
One of the most interesting of her slides for me was called “Myths About Albinism”
- PWAs are ghosts
- Mother slept with a white man
- They don’t die just fade away
- Magical powers
- PWAs are evil
- Albinism a curse or punishment
- PWAs have pink eyes
- Albinism is contagious
Thanks to Barbara for her dedication, teaching, and great heart!
Images Copyright Barbara Merrill 2016