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Portrait. A Hero of Our Time


Series, 3rd place
My uncle Carlos, nicknamed Lito, 53 years old, suffers from schizophrenia and severe developmental delay, which seriously affects his mental health. Lito sticks his head out the door of a washing machine.
Lito’s kindness
Lito is a very nice and kind person. When we were kids, he always gave us candy and coins that he had left over from shopping. My mother Virginia always challenges him because he doesn't eat enough and gives half of his meal to his best friend, the neighbor's cat.
Days without flowers
Lito’s days are all the same: grey, without sun or love. He's always locked up at home, afraid of the street, people and light. He can't work because of his disability, he doesn't talk or meet new people, he just plays with his cat and waits for me and my family to visit.
The loneliness
My uncle Lito lives in Burzaco, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina. My family and I visit him on Sundays in the afternoon. Our visit is the only motivation in his day-to-day existence. “Loneliness” is an important word in Lito's mind and life. His suicide attempts, injuries and dangerous behavior are often caused by him being alone. Despite the distance and the difficult situation, my family and I have never let go of Lito.
The corner of memories
Lito is a person with a lot of memories; he always remembers and talks about his past, when he worked, his travels and his lost loves. He often weeps when he thinks about the past, his parents and his youth. He writes down his most cherished memories and puts them up on the walls. One of his favorite places is this corner of his room.
The Schizophrenia
Lito hears noises that aren't there, feels and sees things that don't exist. It is normal to receive two or three calls a week from Lito saying that he heard or saw something at his house. Even though nothing really happened.
A shadow covers Lito's head as he stands in front ofthe main wall of his house.
Two different paths
Virginia and Lito are brother and sister, born a year apart. Despite the disease and the problems that come with it, they have a great relationship. My mother loves him deeply. So, even though she's on the other side of the fence, she's never left him. My mother saved him many times from injury and death.
My family and I visit Lito twice a month. When we go to his house, the conditions in which he lives are terrible. His pants are wet, his beard is overgrown and his clothes are all dirty. Every time we go, my mother cuts his beard, hair and nails. He doesn't like it, and he doesn't usually do it himself.
Lito looks through the viewer at the front door of his house.
The shed of melancholy
The shed at my uncle Lito's house, where he has stored various objects, garbage and his most precious memories for more than 50 years.
The window without freedom
Lito between the grate and the window

My uncle Carlos is 53 years old. Since birth, he has suffered from schizophrenia and has severe developmental delay, which seriously affects his mental health. The situation became even worse when he reached adolescence. This is when his problems and symptoms became apparent and began to affect his daily life. Today, after several decades, the reality is critical, the desire to take his own life is increasing, there are fewer and fewer days when he steps on the sidewalk, he cannot talk the way he did before, sadness grows and hope diminishes with every passing day. His only light in the morning is my mom, my two brothers and me. We are the only reason why he has the strength to keep walking the path of madness, why he swallows hundreds of pills a week, dares to get up, turn on the radio and change the shirt he has been wearing for a month. I have been visiting his house for 18 years, and one day he woke me up to tell me about his life, his mind, how a person with mental health problems lives, feels and thinks.

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