Father Lamburn Archive- Initial Problems and Stigma


The second in the series of recordings from Father Robin Lamburn looks at the initial problems he faced in establishing Kindwitwi and the fears or curses, superstition and stigma. For those of you who want to hear the material please visit our special pages and see below:

We are releasing transcripts with all of these recordings for our friends and supporters who may prefer to read these interesting clips from our history. If you have any comments or corrections please email our trustee Rachael Green (rachael.l.green28@gmail.com).

Please see below the transcript for clip 2:

First of all, there was a big problem to face.   Nowadays, the policy is to have all leprosy patients treated in their own homes, that is at local dispensaries or hospitals and not to gather them together in camps or villages.   And this, and was, the policy of the Tanzanian Ministry of Health.   But the Minister of Health realised that the conditions in the Rufiji District were far from normal.   In that area, leprosy patients were regarded as the curst of god and were outcast – for fear of the curse not for fear of infection.   A man who once has had leprosy, even if he was completely cured, was not allowed to return to his home.   And any new patients showing signs of leprosy were thrown out of the village, separated from their wives or husbands and sent away with nothing but the clothes they were wearing.

Now here is the second picture *no relevant picture, which shows you an elderly man named Yewya, who was a person of importance in his own village.   When he saw the marks of leprosy on his body, he tried to hide them.   At last, the disease got too bad, he could no longer hide it.   His wife cast him off and they turned him out of the village with nothing, nothing whatsoever, not even a hoe.   And he came to Kindwitwi with nothing but the clothes he was wearing. 

Also, at Kindwitwi, there were many patients who were more or less disabled by the disease and could not fend for themselves.  These people had to be looked after.   They had been at Kindwitwi in many cases, for long years and, in fact, had no other home.   In these circumstances, the Minister warned that Kindwitwi must continue for a good number of years yet.   In fact, through the change in public opinion about the sufferers from the disease.