How does it feel when your foot activates a mine? What is it like when you lose a part of your body? What does it mean to live your life disabled? These are some of the questions that I keep asking myself. I have asked and continue to ask the same questions to different people from different countries since the perfect soldier, or rather its victims, entered my life.

I started to document this reality in 1992, in Cambodia, in orthopaedic centres and hospital camps. I realised that the more time I spent with these people, the more my interest grew. I wanted to understand how they managed to live in their homes and in their world. How they managed to live everyday life without a leg or an arm, or even blind.

On 22nd March 1994, at half past four in the afternoon an incident happened near an access road in the jungle, built by soldiers aiming to surround the enemy. A passing tank activated a mine, causing a powerful explosion which killed two soldiers and injured six. According to the commander of these men, who only a few minutes earlier had told me to get into the truck that was following the tank, which I myself had been sitting in all day, I could consider myself very lucky. Since then, my journey has led me to know countries where beauty and danger coexist in inexplicable contrast. This journey has led me to know entire communities that live in the constant fear of treading on a mine. Leaving Cambodia, I then found myself in Mozambique, Angola, Sudan, Afghanistan, Laos and the Balkans (Kosovo, Croatia, Bosnia), Central America (Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras), Colombia, Egypt, Libya and the United States.

The aim of all these years has been to talk about hopes: very individual and diverse hopes. Also to highlight the lives of people, different but united through common ground: the interruption of the journey through life caused by a cursed mine. They all have their own story to tell, their own reasons to have found themselves exposed to a mine. A mine that was to scar them forever, both in body and in spirit.

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01/08

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Yousif Lado lost both his limbs in the explosion. He is now living with his brother’s family. When we met Yousif, he asked us: “Why are you here? Can you solve my problem?” We had no answer. Sudan 2007

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Abdul Fatah gets his hair washed by his wife at his raised mud house in Herat. Abdul not only lost his right leg to a landmine, but he also suffers from advanced tuberculosis. Due to his meager financial resources and the remote location of his village, he has been unable to obtain appropriate medical treatment. Afghanistan 1999

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Sandra is photographed while swimming for the first time after the accident. She stepped on a mine on July 21st 2009 in San Juande Aroma, in the department of Meta. Sandra was delighted to find out that she could swim. She often used to go swimming in the El Sanza river, near her home before the accident. She is now planning to do it more regularly as she can see the benefits. Colombia 2009

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Khaled Ahmed Mostafa became blind and lost one leg below the knee while preparing food in the desert with two friends. One friend died, the other has injuries all over the body. Mostafa has a message for governments all over the world: "Please get on with clearing the land, our children might get hurt. It's depressing to end up like me, sitting at home doing nothing." Egypt 2009

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vni Lubovci, 15 years old (left), watches his friends as they play with a toy gun at the Prishtina hospital. Kosovo 2000

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Buasi has gone back to farming. He says he is sad that the government does not allow people to work on the river, until the government decided that this activities attracted too many people and created too many enviromental problems. Now, but he still considers himself very lucky that he is living in an area where the land is fertile. Buasi Buasavathdi was seventeen when he stepped on a mine while farming. He is now married and has two beautiful daughters. Buasi says he used to make a good living digging for gold in a river next to his village. Laos 1998

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"I walked on my crutches for 57 days and made it from Huambo to Cubal". Gregorio Domingo explains that in 1994 during a heavy spell of fighting he was forced to evacuate. The journey for his family ended on the road. His youngest child was shot dead whilst being carried on his wife's back. His other two daughters died of disease and his wife died of exhaustion. Gregorio, an ex commander of more then 300 men, lost his leg as his trucks, coming back from a mission, ran over to an anti-tank mine. The mine was connected to other mines. 38 people were killed and 26 were wounded. Angola 1997

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Salem Mohammed Musbah. Libya 2011

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