White African Albinos Visit Holy Orthodox Mission in West Africa!
By John Tsambazis, Special to ASSIST News Service
FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE (ANS – August 4, 2105) – The Rev. Themi Adams, a former rock star, who found Christ and is now a Greek Orthodox missionary in Ebola-hit Sierra Leone, is now facing a new challenge.
Themi was formerly a member of Australian rock group, The Flies, and once shared the stage with the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, became a missionary after a dramatic conversion, has been facing the greatest challenge of his life – Ebola — which is killed at least 3,900 people in Sierra Leone.
Until recently, he has bravely refused to leave The Holy Orthodox Mission in his adopted country, preferring to stay at his post to help his people protect themselves from Ebola, rather than take a break in Australia.
Following this calamitous event in his life, Fr. Themi has taken on a new challenge by offering support to “White African” Albinos, who many believe are the outcasts of African society.
He is taking care of group of Albinos at his mission, who are demanding equal rights and asking the government for jobs and scholarships to help them fight marginalization, as on Friday, the Sierra Leone Albino Association was launched to help them fight marginalization and defend their rights.
Albinism is a congenital lack of the melanin pigment in the skin, eyes and hair which protects from the sun’s ultraviolet. Albinos are vulnerable to medical complications as well as social discrimination across Africa.
At an inaugural meeting attended by more than 300 people, the Sierra Leone Albino Association (SLAA) said Albinos in the West African country were “facing stigmatization, marginalization and harassment.”
Since late 2007, more than 60 Albinos, including many children, have been killed, their limbs hacked off and sold to witch doctors who concoct charms their clients believe will make them rich and powerful.
The government in Sierra Leone has no records indicating how many Albinos live in the country.
Amnesty International’s Solomon Sogbandi said the rights group was ready to “provide an enabling environment for their cause and act as a pressure group on government to ensure their social and human rights are enhanced.”When he heard of their plight, Brother Themi Adams said that he could not help but recognize the need to help on this occasion. His peaceful activism and quiet humanitarian spirit could not get the better of him and he offered support.
Rev Themi said: “No they are not Europeans visiting our Mission in Sierra Leone (West Africa). They are indigenous Sierra Leoneans who happen to be Albinos (white skinned Africans).
He added: “Albinos not only suffer severe social isolation, discrimination and provocations but also experience associated physical ailments - extreme skin sensitivity to sunrays leading to infections and even cancer. They may also be afflicted with low vision or blindness. In Tanzania they are actually hunted and killed for witchcraft purposes.”
Albinos live with the risk of being killed, their body parts fetching high prices for witchcraft - but hope that change is coming.
The Rev Themi's has been featuring their sad situation on his Facebook page, which has received many comments. They have included:
Vicki Christofi, who said; “As if life is not difficult enough, it is shocking to read of what added suffrage these individuals endure on account of discrimination. I had no idea, and pray that mindsets shift”.
And Nadine Abwi said; “Lord have mercy on them! God bless you Father”.
Last year, Mr. Peter Tayoung, the Chief Executive Officer of the International Business Communications Advisory Services and Training [IBCAST], maintained that the sufferings that Albinos are undergoing in Sierra Leone are common to Albinos all over the world. He therefore urged Sierra Leoneans to intensify the fight against discrimination of Albinos, and he described Sierra Leone as a “jewel” when he heard that the country has gained liberty.
Themi Adams also said: “Our Orthodox Mission here will seek to assist them in some basic ways through the blessings of Christ. I ask that you pray for their welfare and protection”.
Brother Themi is finally on his way back to Australia for the first time in nearly 3 years. He spent these past few years protecting his mission from the Ebola crisis. He has since set up Clinics and Orphanages to accommodate the families that were affected by the crisis, luckily they all have survived with God’s help.
Ebola Vaccine at Last!
It was announced recently that Ebola vaccine tests conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in West Africa (Guinea) have proven to be 100% effective against the deadly virus.
“If that is truly the case then this will come as a great relief for us living in Ebola ground zero,” said Fr. Themi. “Thanks be to God!”
Fr. Themi has been working with Paradise 4 Kids (http://paradise4kids.org/) and if log on you can be kept up to date with his movements and itinerary of when and where he will be near you. P4K are planning a number of functions and fundraiser in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
Photo captions: 1) Albino children visit the mission. 2) Fr. Themi has been involved in a healing ministry. 3) Fr. Themi with gloves for his staff. 4) John Tsambazis.
About the writer: John Tsambazis is an award winning editor/producer with numerous credits underneath his belt in feature films, documentaries, TV shows and news and current affairs, both in Australia and abroad. John is a professional member of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts, and sits on the jury. He is executive of his production company “Clapstick Pictures” and is currently overseeing a couple of high profile projects in pre-production. He can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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