Man weaving a large rattan mat. For many of the lepers at Benue Leprosy Settlement, the manufacture of these items was a vital source of income.
A solitary woman in the hospital ward.
A woman with a prosthetic leg.
A patient with a prosthetic leg and crutch. The hospital provided a vital medical services for amputees and lepers who had lost feeling in limbs. In some cases, amputation was considered preferable to simply going through the course of leprosy drugs.
Daily life at the hospital. Note the small child being bathed outside, while two women smoke a pipe and knit.
Two men standing outside the hospital.
A man with an unknown sickness.
A nurse changing the bandages of a young boy in the ward.
A group of women sitting in a hospital ward.
A group of men posing for the camera. The looks on their faces are striking. There was great novelty in a white woman coming into their community, asking them to pose for pictures. They seem to be reacting accordingly.
Children outside a Benue Leprosy Settlement building.
The Nigerian countryside in 1961. It’s totally different now. Urbanisation has changed this landscape beyond recognition, but at the time my mother moved there, this was what she saw daily. It’s almost frightening in its loneliness.
The sign at the entrance to BLS (Benue Leprosy Settlement). Even as a child, I remember this sign well. I spent my summers in and around the hospital, so we drove past it almost every day.
A woman posing for the camera. Notice the intricate tattoos across her chest, as well as the tribal marks on her face. While the sight of a bare-chested women must have been shocking for my mother initially, it was considered completely normal in those days.