An Interrupted Journey by Giovanni Diffidenti
Saturday 16 October 1999 to Sunday 28 November 1999
Pinto da Cruz (12 years old in the photograph) had fled with his family, due to heavy fighting. They returned home at the beginning of 1996. The mine was 20 metres from his house.
Pinto: We were building a new house and I was helping my family to finish the roof. My sister saw a rat and shouted for me. We started to chase and it ran down a hole and into a trench.
Uncle: There was a noise and then someone crying. I ran over and saw Pinto bleeding. I tied his leg to stop the flow of blood.
Pinto: I was taken to the hospital where I was helped by a Vietnamese doctor. There was a list of people who had been sent to Germany for treatment. I was too late…
(Pinto starts to cry, knowing that he has missed his chance to go to Germany for medical treatment)
Uncle: We know there are other mines but we don't know where they are. No one goes to that area anymore.
Since 1991, Diffidenti has been photographing landmine victims all over the world. These images are from Angola. When talking about their lives a recurrent feature is the wish to erase their personal history. It is almost as though they don't want to think of themselves as the man who once had two legs, or the child that could run, or the woman that could carry things, or the teenager who could lead a normal social life; 'Life was normal… and then I stepped on a mine.' And then the story of their life begins. Or gradually deteriorates. These richly layered portraits are a testament both to the deep humanity of Diffidenti's vision and to the strength and spirit of his subjects.