This former UN official lived for three days in Casa Santa Marta with the Pope. The reason? Pope Francis decided to get to know and support an initiative that was launched to aid albinos in Africa.
"It is called, 'social audio book'. It was created so that people could manifest their closeness to Africans with albinism. So that, donating their voice, reading a phrase from the book, each person gives their voice to people who have no voice so that they can be heard.”
This initiative is online. Visitors of the site can record their voice, reading excerpts from the book "Ombra Bianca”, "White Shadow”. A book written by Cristiano Gentili that describes the struggle of being albino in Africa.
"They are disrciminated against and also persecuted. They believe in life they bring bad luck. However, once dead, good luck charms are made with parts of their body.”
The author wrote seeking help from poiticians and celebrities to launch the initiative and to his surprise, the only one who responded was none other than the Pope.
"He invited me to Casa Santa Marta and to close an international symposium on Africa in the Vatican. He then received me in a private audience on November 29, 2013 and explained to him what this initiative was about.”
Francis recorded various excerpts from the book and months later, on the launch day of the initiative, Cristiano Gentili approached the Pope at the end of the General Audience to ask him one final favor.
"He gave his support to the initiative by signing a simple 'F'. There was a bit of confusion but despite that he greeted me and accepted to have his photo taken with this poster and sign it.”
The excerpts that Pope Francis read for the audiobook were those a priest in the book that represents the Church in Africa. An institution that has gained prestige for defending cases such as those of African albinos, "the last ones among the last.”