Step by Step Missions...

Helping One Step at a Time

Longview News-Journal article - May 5, 2012

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East Texas Couple Seeks to Help Victims of Witchcraft Butcherings by Providing Prosthetic Limbs

By Glenn Evans gevans@news-journal.com

Couple seeks to help victims of witchcraft butcherings by providing prosthetic limbs

Above:  Sherrie Anderson helps fit a Haitian man with a new leg in 2010. Anderson and her husband are traveling to Tanzania to help albino people injured by witchcraft butchering attacks. “The witch doctors believe the albino bones — or maybe even the whole limb, tissues and everything — have magical properties,” Anderson says. “And they use them in a potion. And when they drink that potion it brings prosperity.”News reports that witch doctors in the African country of Tanzania were butchering people with albinism to capture their supposed magical essence wasn’t about to escape the eye of a prosthetics clinician.

 

News reports that witch doctors in the African country of Tanzania were butchering people with albinism to capture their supposed magical essence wasn’t about to escape the eye of a prosthetics clinician.

“It think it’s because that’s what I do, I paid attention to it,” said Sherrie Anderson, who moved the prosthetics and orthotics clinic she and her husband founded from Longview to Nacogdoches in 1998.

Anderson and her accountant husband, Eddy, already had traveled to Haiti to help victims of the 2010 earthquake. She researched Tanzania and, at Christmas, told a friend involved with a mission that builds churches in Africa that she’d like to help the albino victims.

“They will come, in the middle of the night with a machete, and chop the hand or the limb and sell it on the black market,” she said. “Not many people survive the attacks. Those who have survived are missing one or two arms.”

The ones who lose feet don’t generally live, she added.

“The witch doctors believe the albino bones — or maybe even the whole limb, tissues and everything — have magical properties,” she said. “And they use them in a potion. And when they drink that potion it brings prosperity.”

The tragedy will take the Andersons to Africa for a week beginning June 2. There, they’ll take the measurements for 30 people, returning home to build the feet and hands, then return in August for fittings.

“Plenty of people in my profession, and physical therapists, say, ‘Oh! I would love to come and help.’ But, they don’t realize, you’ve got to raise the money. We don’t even have the money for us to go.”

The couple is accepting donations for the trip through a prosthetics mission organization, at www.stepbystepmissions.com.

And if people can’t contribute cash, Anderson said she and her husband hope to bring donations of sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and reading glasses to the albino community.

“Usually, within their 20s, they end up having skin cancer,” she said. “And their eyesight is damaged from, basically, their eyes being sunburned.”

The pair also hopes to collect used crutches and canes to take, primarily on the first journey, because during the August trip they’ll be carrying the new prosthetics.

She said a Tanzanian contact tells her only 19 albino people have survived the attacks, but that many Tanzanians live without a limb.

“The majority of the people we will be seeing are people just like we see over here,” she said.

“For these people, I would like to at least tell them the message that God loves everyone, and God provides for everyone. And, (that) what happened to them doesn’t define them.”

Couple seeks to help victims of witchcraft butcherings by providing prosthetic limbs

Above:  Sherrie Anderson makes adjustments to a prosthetic leg. “The majority of the people we will be seeing are people just like we see over here,” Anderson says. “For these people, I would like to at least tell them the message that God loves everyone, and God provides for everyone. And, what happened to them doesn’t define them.”

Couple seeks to help victims of witchcraft butcherings by providing prosthetic limbs

Above:  Sherrie Anderson works on a prosthetic limb.