The Book

A diary of leprosy in contemporary Berlin

A Brazilian woman moves with her German husband to Berlin. She is young, educated, full of energy and anticipation. Soon she dominates the German language, makes friends and finds a demanding work which gives her much satisfaction.

Everything is fine.

“Two months later I celebrated my 30th birthday. I was happy with my life. I had asked some close friends to a small party at my house, and I remember their comments about my good humor and amusing conversations.”

Until one day she discovered some spots. On her left arm, on her right knee and on her calf. She does not take things very seriously, asks her family doctor, consults the Dermatological Clinic and is, obliviously, at the beginning of an incredible odyssey.

After many fruitless medical examinations she is finally diagnosed:

“I felt lost, physically and mentally tortured by all the medical examinations and unanswered questions. The uncertainty of the doctors made me feel insecure, too. The diagnosis should be here by now. On Friday I finally got it.”

It is leprosy.

In Europe, a long forgotten disease, which was pushed into the consciousness of the people together with the plague and cholera of the Middle Ages or Ebola and malaria in uncivilized parts of the world.

First, the uncertainty ends with the diagnosis, but during the painful, desperate odyssey of the therapy, it comes back: How much pain can I endure? How much medication with how many side effects? Will there ever be an end? And when is it going to happen?

Desperate and brave, but always with a critical sense and not humorless Evelyne Leandro overcame this biblical challenge. She prescribed herself a therapy which cured her together with an intensive medical treatment: She kept a diary of all this terrible time.

Reading her story does not just mean to learn about the forgotten disease leprosy, it means above all, to accompany the courageous struggle of a young woman who, despite all despair, despite all the pain, never ceased to believe in herself and life.

During her tortuous path the words of the Brazilian poet, Cora Coralina, accompanied and encouraged her:

“Even when it seems that everything seems to fall apart,
it’s up to you to decide between
laughing or crying, going or staying, giving up or struggling;
for I have discovered in the uncertain path of life
that the most important thing is deciding”.

The book at a glance
Click on the image to zoom in