Rungano’s Confession

Living With Albinism In zimbabwe

As I opened the door to my new class with anticipation and a little tinge of expectation, I couldn’t wait to start off my day and meet the new faces of my new classmates. I was coming from a school where I looked no different and had a lot of friends, but my parents had relocated and I had to move schools. As I paced in, sudden realization struck me that they were all staring at me with confusion and most of them looked very appalled at my sight. I unexpectedly felt a tinge of pain because those wild and piercing looks were too much for me to handle so I decided to back-off.

Silently sobbing, I turned and started running towards the car park where mother and father had just dropped me, my thick spectacles drenching from the deluge of tears. Quickly taking them off, I pulled out my handkerchief, wiped them a little and after dabbing my eyes, I put them back on. I continued running towards the car park and after turning a corner, I felt a warm hand gripping my left shoulder. With hasty alert, I spiraled and saw a girl my height standing close to me at which I felt a bit of relief. “Hello there, I’m Dadiso” she said and continued speaking, “I saw you when you walked into our class but when you ran out, I decided to follow you because our cold reception was rather very insensitive.”

I looked at her a bit mystified and unconvinced by her concern but as she kept talking, I got reassurance that she meant no harm. “I’m Rungano and today is my first day here. My parents were transferred so I had to change schools but I didn’t know it would be this hard to fit in. I thought being a form two would be exciting, but I’m already distressed so all I want is to just go home!” Tears poured freely down my cheeks and I didn’t try to stop them because I had reached that point when I really felt the big difference between myself and the rest of that class.

Being an albino wasn’t easy for me during my formative years but when I got integrated into my old Special Needs School, I felt at home whilst away from home. But my ‘new class experience’ was like a dreadful story depicting the removal of my old comfort zone. It felt as if my rug of ease was being suddenly snatched away from under my feet, leaving me grasping for a firm grip… Learning at a conventional school seemed bleak and gloomy but as Dadiso shoved a roll of tissue she had taken from her purse into my hands, I instinctively knew this wasn’t the time for puppy tears. As I followed her to the bathroom, I felt very relieved and quickly forgot about my carpark trip. When we finally made it to class, she was my guardian angel in and outside the classroom until the day I had regained my full confidence.

by Miriam C.R Mushaikwa

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