Andrei Pungovschi - Leprosy

Andrei Pungovschi – Leprosy

“Officially, leprosy has been long eradicated in Romania. Nevertheless, Tichilesti Hospital, one of the last few leper colonies in Europe, still hosts about twenty leper patients.
These people are not contagious and most of them have no marks on their bodies. They are no longer confined, but they choose to live here, because Tichilesti is much more than a hospital. It is a community, a way of life.
Tichilesti, Romania, 2008″

Last Few Lepers
Ioana Miscov, 70 years old, rests in her house after eating her breakfast. Ioana has been living here since she was 11 years old, when she was first brought by train, in an animal wagon.

Last Few Lepers
Mihai Dinescu, 58 years old, sits in his room, surrounded by memories from his mother Maria, also a leper, pictured in the frame in the upper right corner of the wall behind him. Mihai has been here for 14 years. His mother had spent most of her life in Tichilesti, until she passed away in 2004.

Domnica Miscov, Ioana’s daughter (first image), hands over a book during prayer in the Baptist church. Though both her parents had leper, she grew up healthy among the patients.

Last Few Lepers
Ion Vasile Grigore, 70 years old, rests in the shade of his room on a hot day. Ion, who also suffers from a mild case of mental retardation, was committed to Tichilesti when he was a child.

Last Few Lepers
Victoria Chiselev, 84 years old, takes a break from picking grass to feed her chickens. Victoria was first committed to Tichilesti hospital when she was 16. It was here that she met her husband Lazar, with whom she lived 30 years outside the hospital, in a village nearby, after the first treatment. They came back to Tichilesti when the disease recurred.

A patient walks out of the treatment room and heads for his house. Although the disease is no longer active, some patients still suffer from wounds and need to have their bandages changed every day.