The Boy From Geita
A story of inhumanity transformed by humanity
In a remote village in the northwest of Tanzania, a twelve-year old boy sits in the shade of a hut while his siblings play in the light. His pale skin is sensitive to the sun's rays and his eyes don't see as well as the other children, but he's content to sit on his own and write with pencil and paper. He loves to write. But his safe little world is about to be shattered…
"Ghost" is what a boy like Adam is called in Tanzania or "zero zero" – nothing – because he has albinism. Witchdoctors, the spiritual authority in the region, have convinced people that the body parts from children such as Adam will bring them good fortune. Those afflicted with the condition have become a target for the most violent and hateful crimes imaginable because in the eyes of the ignorant, their body parts will bring them a great fortune.
It's 2011 and Adam is sitting inside, eating dinner with his father, when a man comes to the door. Adam's father has some business with the man, so he asks Adam and his brother to finish their dinner outside. It is in the dim evening light, as Adam picks at his plate, that a machete blade comes down on his left shoulder. Adam screams and runs into the hut but his father pushes him back out. Adam has to make a choice. When the man comes for him again, he fights back. The attacker runs off but not before severing a thumb and two fingers from Adam's right hand. His father disappears and Adam's brother screams for help.
Adam survives, but must live with the memory of this trauma. And on top of that, has lost the ability to continue his most beloved activity – writing.
But there is hope. In Canada, Peter Ash, who also has albinism, hears of the attack and his heart goes out to Adam. Peter travels to meet Adam and learns of the passion Adam has for writing. He feels compelled to help.
Peter makes it possible for Adam to have surgery in Canada to return the function of a thumb to Adam's hand. The 9-hour operation is intricate and involves 5 surgeons, but it goes very well and Adam is on the road to recovery. Adam now begins his rehabilitation, happy but unsure of what the future holds. Will he ever write again? And what is in store for him when he returns to Tanzania?