Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Tree Man

"The Tree Girl named Dede"

"The Tree Girl"

Dede grew up in a tiny hamlet near Bandung, south of Jakarta, the capital of the volcanic island of Java. He enjoyed a completely normal childhood, but just after he turned 15 he cut his knee in an accident on a building site. The injury - not deemed to be at all serious at the time - was to change his life forever. Within weeks, a huge growth had emerged from inside his wound. He says at first he was not unduly worried, believing it was a wart which would eventually drop off. But it didn't. And shortly afterwards, horrific welts started to spring up all over his body.
"The first one was cut off in an operation, but that didn't stop it. Instead it just grew back faster. "Then it started on my foot, then my arms, then my other foot and then on my head," says Dede (The Tree Man) .
By the time he had reached his early 20s, he could no longer hold a tool and struggled to complete basic tasks. He was fired and has remained unemployed since. His wife also left him, leaving him to raise their two children, Entis, now 18, and Entang, 16, on his own. "I feel sad because my wife left me," says Dede. "And with my condition I cannot look after my kids. I miss working very much. But unfortunately I just can't do it."

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