The Story of Merveille Block

The Story of Merveille Block

February 28, 2024 Masse Comments Off

While we may speak on success and the impact that Massé World has on those around the globe, we seldom highlight the resilience and strength that people with albinism and vitiligo have when facing discrimination, bullying, and even abuse by their environment. A young girl who embodies strength and resilience is Ngo Block, or Merveille, as known by her friends—an eleven-year-old girl from the commune of Nitoukou in Cameroon born with albinism, and a physical impairment.

To call Merveille’s upbringing challenging would be an understatement. She lost her mother as a baby and was shunned by the family that initially took care of her, being called a “Water Witch,” or “Mami Wata,” as it is most known. It was not only the verbal abuse that she received, but it even reached the point of malnutrition by her family members, who did not feed her as a child for long periods of time.

While this could have been the end of Merveille, she fought on, culminating in members of her community who witnessed her abuse refusing to let this behavior continue, being adopted by a kind, loving couple, Sylvin and Christine, who took care of her as one of their children and made sure that she felt love and affection from her new parents. Sylvin and Christine loved Merveille and fought tooth and nail for her. Whether it was defending her from the stigma she faced from others in her community, protecting her mental health by making her feel as if she was no different from the other children in Nitoukou, or through financial support via costly medical treatment, they did everything in their power to ensure that Merveille would not only grow up like the other girls around her but that she would thrive in this environment that treated her with such aggression for a skin condition that she had no control over.

But, for a family with limited resources, taking care of Merveille would become more than the family could bear, nearly reaching a tipping point in their finances. Still, they trotted on, as this was not their first time facing animosity. That is where Massé World and their support of those with albinism came into play. How Merveille met MW was accidental, a fortunate coincidence even, as it was during an awareness campaign where volunteers in Cameroon heard Merveille’s story, met her family, and through overwhelming emotion pledged to support her, providing any financial support that the girl may need for medical treatment.

Today, although she faced years of neglect, abuse, bullying, and malnutrition, Merveille is a preteen like any other who enjoys spending time with her friends, thriving academically regardless of her physical impairments, and values and cherishes the lessons taught by her parents. Merveille never gave up; she never gave in to the abuse, and today, with the solidarity brought forward by her parents, siblings, Massé World, and her supportive community, she knows that her life will never be the same.

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