As I live in Egypt since 1999 and I speak Arabic I like to tell stories of people that are normally ignored. Often photojournalists on assignment don't have the time to get really close to people and especially if the lack of language creates another barrier. It frustrates me that people are more often than not protrayed as poor victims or have no voice at all. When I started to visit Abu Zaabal I didn't know what to expect because I couldn't free myself from stereotypes that I had learned through common articles about leprosy colonies. How big was the surprise to find people living normal lives like other people, laughing, crying, having affairs, being friends or disliking each other. They accepted my presence there quite easily and I became friends with many of them. Unexpectedly our conversations were never dominated by their disease but rather by normal daily topics. Leprosy is an integrated part of their lives and if only society in large could accept it that way there wouldn't any leprosy colonies exist any longer in our world.
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