Albinism is an inherited genetic condition characterized by the lack of the pigment melanin in skin, eyes, and hair. Without melanin, an albino has very pale skin, vision problems, and an increased risk of skin cancer, especially dangerous under hot, sub-Saharan African skies, but it's certainly not dangerous to others. Try telling that to most Africans, said Wangode. Many albinos are killed at birth, and the ones that survive are treated like outcasts, shunned by society and denied jobs. Pregnant women believe they can catch a curse if they look at albinos, and families often hide albino children when visitors come to call. Not much help While information is scarce about Uganda, the Zimbabwe Albino Association says life expectancy for albinos is 43 years, compared to 57 years for darker Zimbabweans. Making up about one in every 4,000 people, only 29 per cent of albinos live to reach the age of 60. "Very few African governments have policies to help albinos," said Theresa Ibisi, of the Albino Foundation in Nigeria. One of the association's pressing issues is to excuse albino children from sports in the sun, and reduce import duties to make sunscreen more affordable. But the most important thing is education to stop the stigma, she said. Wangode's father would not even touch his mother after she washed him. Children and teachers feared him at school, and after he graduated he took jobs his mother could get him, always hidden in the back, working in the early morning and late evening to avoid the heat. He was barely shocked when his mother revealed that Wangode's birth was the trigger for her divorce. "There is too much discrimination," he said. "The deaf, they have schools, the blind, the cripples, but not us. It is very lonely." After hearing of albino organizations that sprung up in Zimbabwe, Malawi, and this year in Nigeria, Wangode decided to start one in Uganda. While those were often funded by wealthy, self-made albinos,

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