WRITTEN BY MR HARRY FREELAND, 2006.
Alfred sits in the front seat of the car. His dark shades make him appear ten years younger than he is. He heckles and shouts out at people as we drive past them, cracking jokes and amusing us with his infectious laughter. Although often serious in his tone, it is not uncommon for Alfred to belch half way through a sentence and carry on as if nothing had happened.
Alfred Kapole is 44 years old. He has a non-Albino wife, Sikuzania A. Kapole age 25 and two non-Albino children, Judith A. Kapole aged 10 and Passikazia A. Kapole aged 3.
Alfred is the chairman of the Ukerewe Albino society. Proud of his duties, he cycles for miles from his home in a remote part of the island to attend any necessary society meetings in the main town of Ukerewe, Nansio.
Alfred has a rare gift of being able to break down all language barriers, encouraging communication with a simple laugh or a smile. This natural ability was not only helpful to our communication, but when entering villages where some people reacted badly to the survey or our presence his reaction was so effective when calming the situation. When conducting the survey Alfred appeared to come into his own once counseling others, sharing his own experiences, listening to theirs and making people realize they were not alone.
Alfred is in great health for an African Albino of his age. He is the oldest Albino we know of on the island and lives life extremely positively. Recently I heard Alfred had been asked to become the chairman of the Mwanza albino society on mainland Tanzania. This will be a great honor for Alfred, although I hope he doesn't abandon his duties at home.
VEDASTUS ZANGULE: EACH DAY CHILDREN LINE UP FOR MORNING ASSEMBLY BEFORE ENTERING THEIR CLASSROOMS. THEY CHANT AND DANCE TO A RIGID DRUMBEAT, BRINGING THE SCHOOL TOGETHER AS A UNIT. WHEN VEDA LINES UP THE OTHER CHILDREN IMMEDIATELY PUSH HIM OUT. HE WALKS TO ANOTHER LINE, ONLY TO ONCE AGAIN BE PUSHED OUT AND REJECTED. HE TRIES ANOTHER, AND ANOTHER. UNTIL FINALLY, DEFEATED, HE WALKS HOME. WHEN KIDS IN THE VILLAGE GO FISHING THEY TELL VEDA TO COME WITH THEM, IN CASE THEIR BOAT SINKS THEY CAN CLIMB ON HIS BACK TO PREVENT THEMSELVES FROM DROWNING. IN VEDAS VILLAGE IT IS A BELIEF THAT ALBINOS FLOAT ON WATER. THIS YOUNG BOY DEEPLY AFFECTED US AND WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT CHARACTER TO LEAVE BEHIND. HE SAT IN FRONT OF US AS A CHILD, BUT TOLD HIS STORY AS MATURELY AND AS POETICALLY AS IF HE WERE A GROWN MAN. HE SPOKE CLEARLY AND EMOTIONALLY ABOUT HIS LIFE, FROM THE TIGHTNESS OF HIS SKIN TO THE VERBAL AND PHYSICAL ABUSE HE RECEIVES DAY AFTER DAY. HIS STORY IS A VITAL ONE AND ON TOP OF THIS DAILY STRUGGLE, VEDA'S MOTHER IS DYING OF AIDS. HE WILL SOON JOIN THE MANY OTHER AIDS ORPHANS SUFFERING ACROSS AFRICA.