Located about 40km from Ho Chi Minh City, and one of several leprosy centers in Vietnam, Ben San is not only a leprosy hospital, but the sprawling grounds also contain private residences for those who are in relative better health, but still bear the scars of their long time afflictions, and thus are unable to return to society at large.
"Actually, we don't have any leprosy patients here, we call them ex-patients," so Dr. Hai, the center's director, informs me. "We cured leprosy here more than ten years ago." Yet, upon encountering those who reside here, the phrase can take on an ironic and intriguing meaning.
This is an ongoing project looking at the lives of those who have been affected by leprosy in Vietnam, and like most parts of the world, shunned from society. Many residents have called Ben San home for several decades, and will most likely take their last breaths here as well.