On Saturday, 7 August 2019, together with a fellow Tanzanian writer, Justine Kakoko, we held a book launch event for my bilingual book ‘Jai The Albino Cow: Jai Ng’ombe Zeruzeru‘ in Sumbawanga, Tanzania.
The event was attended by thirty-three children. Mostly were from Katandala Orphanage Center and some from the neighborhood. The day’s program began with a visit to the Rukwa National Library. While there, we couldn’t resist extending an invitation to three more children who were diving deep into the books.
The event had its challenges and almost didn’t happen if it were not for Kakoko’s determination and experience in organizing community events. Myself, Gloria, I was to call in through a teleconference line from Germany. Unfortunately, we had technical glitches onsite in Tanzania and that meant a quick solution or else cancel. We proceeded via Whatsapp video call. I was able to read the book to the children, give a motivational speech, hold a Q&A session, and listen to the children read the books we gifted them.
Another challenge was the representation of participating children. We had planned and invited an equal number of children with and without albinism. Unfortunately, we were informed at the last hour that the children we were expecting from a different center will not be able to participate. These were children with albinism. Was fear for their safety the reason for cancellation? We don’t know but if so, it is understandable although a sad reality. We had three participating children with albinism, who had to be picked up in a car to ensure their safety although they were from a walking distance.
All told, the day was delightful. I believe that the children went home with a message of accepting ourselves and respecting everyone, even if they look different.