I for once have never been close to any albino till I met Amaka’s boyfriend (now Husband).
Amaka was my childhood best friend, and we have been pretty close since then. So a few years back she informed me she was getting married.
“Ola, he proposed, and I said YES!” SHE exclaimed.
See me blushing like ……I couldn’t have been any happier. You know there are friends you have that bring so much peace into your life; that every moment of your prayer you can’t stop praying for them. Amaka is that kind of friend. I always wanted her to be Happy.
Let me Tell you a little story about Amaka.
She lost her parents at the age of 5 through a motor accident. She was the only survivor. She lost not just her parents, her whole family. The 4 of them! Heartbreaking……
Her mother’s youngest sister decided to adopt her as her own child. (God bless this woman). You know growing up with our parents is one Blessing we all take for granted. Honestly you may never understand what it means to be an ORPHAN at a very young age or growing up in another family. Sad.
Nevertheless, as God may have it Her aunt was an Answered Prayer. She took care of her like her own. Unfortunately the woman had no child of her own. So Amaka was all she had.
Amaka is decent, a no nonsense girl,a confidant, an advisor. She is courageous and pretty. In summary, she was a God-sent friend. Jehovah knows how much I needed people like her around.
Amaka moved to Europe in 2011 for her university education. So there she met Kelvin, an Albino based in Abuja, she met on Social media.
Albino? Amaka of all the men in the world it’s an Albino you want? I asked her severally.
So there’s no Nigerian in Europe? No black skinned guy. All you want is an albino? Have you ever imagined how your children will look even they inherit this albinism? If you want to marry an ‘Oyibo’ why not marry a white guy over there…you rather go for a fake one. I always said all these to her.
Look , I loved Amaka and wanted the best for her. I never thought Kelvin was the best man for her. Knowing how much she has kept herself and prayed for a good decent man.
I felt she deserved better.Never have I doubted her sense of judgement. Look, when it comes to a friend that can help you in making important decisions about a life partner, family, etc she was that friend. She is filled with wisdom. The surrounding aura is honorable. She has a way of talking directly to my soul. I’m few months older than she is, but I respect her a lot.
So a part of me felt this maybe the best thing for her. She knows exactly what she wants.
So one fateful morning she called to inform me Kelvin was coming to Owerri, Imo state for a conference. So we could catch up if I don’t mind.
Me and Kelvin? What for biko? The fact he is an albino made me hate him for no just reason. I was stupid. Like I said earlier, she knows how exactly how to penetrate into subconscious, so as expected I accepted.
Fast-forward to a few days later. He was in town and we met. Damn!!! This guy was nearly Perfect.
Soft spoken, his charisma is out of this world, contagious smile, fluent, humble. Why did God make him an albino (I thought to myself)
We were supposed to meet by 1 pm. It was a hot afternoon, so he called and pleaded we make it 3.30 pm. I already knew why. You will understand the reason, soon.
He wore a Long-sleeved White T-shirt, a hat , and sunshade.
Wow! This dude knows his onions. No wonder my friend fell for him, I muffled. I will come back to this later
Right now they’re happily married with two kids. A daughter who is an albino, and a son who isn’t.
Albinism consists of a group of inherited abnormalities of melanin synthesis and are typically characterized by a congenital reduction or absence of melanin pigment. Albinism results from defective production of melanin from……..I’m not going into this now, it’s beyond the scope of this blog, lol. Just know melanin is the black colouring pigment of the skin. So in albinos, it’s synthesis is defective.
It is more common in Blacks
It can manifest as Oculocutaneous (affecting both the eyes and skin) or Ocular alone (affecting just the eyes) with the hair and skin colour normal.
The features of albinism include:
- White hair
- White skin
- Sensitivity to light
- Ocular (eye) manifestations like:
1. Refractive error and astigmatism
2. Nystagmus (may compensate with a head tilt that may help improve vision)
3. Iris depigmentation (usually blue-gray or light brown color)
4. Strabismus (the so-called four O’clock eyes)
Complications/challenges of being an albino:
Skin cancer, sunburn.
Reduced visual acuity
The commonest cancer they have is Cancer of the skin. The good thing about this cancer is that it can be highly prevented. So I expect everyone one if us reading this to tell all albinos you know about what you’re about reading now.
The big question is How Cancer of the skin be prevented In this subset of people?
Remember what I told you about Kelvin. The way he dressed…the long sleeves, hat, the time rescheduled our meeting for 3.30pm all these were for a reason and I’m going to explain all that to you.
First… Avoid SUN!
They should ALWAYS WEAR LONG SLEEVES
A Wide range Hat
Wear sun absorbing colours like White, Red,etc
And try as much as possible to avoid Sun. And if they must go under the sun before 11am and 3pm they should USE AN UMBRELLA . All these must start as soon as the child is born.
Indoor activities are encouraged like office jobs. No outdoor activities as much as possible
SPF ! SPF !! SPF!!!
SPF means Sun Protective Factor
They should always, I repeat always apply it every day before stepping out of the house. It has different ranges, the appropriate ones for them are those above 30. So it comes in SPF_10,15,20,30,70,22, ETC. ANYONE ABOVE 30 IS OK . It is readily Available in supermarkets. You don’t even have to be an albino to use this ,I use it everyday. It protects us from the damaging effects of the sun. So the chances of having skin burn and skin cancers are reduced. A few body creams and lotions contain it too, so they should patronize such products. More interestingly it’s now embedded in some clothes. Yes,you read right. We now have SPF in clothes. They should wear such.
Regular medical check up
They should always go for regular medical check up. The importance of Early detection and prevention can never be over emphasized. When detected early this cancer can be “cured”. They also need to be seen by an Ophthalmologist because the majority have a poor vision.
Ladies and Gentlemen Today, the 13th of June is World Albinism Awareness day.
International Albinism Awareness Day is observed this day, June 13th every year. Its main aim is to support albino patients and discrimination against people with albinism, particularly in Africa.
Let’s spread the word. They are no less of a human. Until you treat people as your equal, you have no right to complain about the treatment you receive from anyone. The myths about their being mentally retarded is absolutely false, they are not. Kelvin is a first class Engineer. I’ve a Doctor friend who is an albino that I met a few months ago. I could go on and on.
All they may need is the right information. Once you see any albino, tell him/her this. The albinos you hate are the ones not well taken care of, if you see an albino that understands his condition and knows exactly how to prevent complications…you will be as Amazed as I was when I first met Kelvin.
Albinos may be affected by sun, however the socail stigma is more worrisome to them.