[Dell’Udzungwa Mountains, south-central Tanzania]
Are 9920 kilometers in 38 hours of travel I have traveled by plane, jeep and on foot to reach the “Watoto wa Mateso”.
The “watoto Mateso wa, wa Shetanis”, children’s pain, the demon, are a tribe unknown, consisting of more than 1000 people, confined for about eighty years to 2400 meters, in the forest. They were isolated and expelled from the region dell’Iringa, from the tribe of WaHehe, just because suffering from a rare form of epilepsy, as they now unknown. Because of the reactions provoked by epilepsy were considered possessed by demons and why killed and expelled. Consequently it took refuge more and more in inaccessible forests of the nearby mountains. And so they continued to live without any temporal dimension. The future does not exist, everything is considered and it is measured as of the present moment. The intensity of the rain, as the hands of a clock marking the seasons, so the work of the fields and the kifafa, disease, defines the time of life. Every gesture, every ritual is sacred and therefore interpreted by “Baba Mkubwa”, the village chief and healers-sorcerers.
The cause generating the kifafa, is a parasite that creates a serious brain infection, produces seizures which in turn not being treated, causing falls with its consequences, to those affected. In addition there are genetic causes due to inbreeding and strong alcohol abuse.
This report is the result of two years of work, of months and months of life with them to gain confidence that allowed me then to tell their life. I was the first white woman, a photographer who saw it coming to the village and with which they have agreed to live for months.