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Diawo Diallo, Figueras, February 2013
Diawo Diallo, Figueras, February 2013
Diawo Diallo, Figueras, February 2013
Diawo Diallo, Figueras, February 2013
Diawo Diallo, Figueras, February 2013
Diawo Diallo, Figueras, February 2013
Diawo Diallo, Figueras, February 2013
Diawo Diallo, Figueras, February 2013
Diawo Diallo, Figueras, February 2013
Diawo Diallo, Figueras, February 2013
Diawo Diallo, Figueras, February 2013
Diawo Diallo, Figueras, February 2013
Corporate-photography-barcelona
Diawo Diallo, Figueras, February 2013
Diawo Diallo, Figueras, February 2013
Diawo Diallo, Figueras, February 2013
Diawo Diallo, Figueras, February 2013
Diawo Diallo, Figueras, February 2013
Diawo Diallo, Figueras, February 2013
Diawo Diallo, Figueras, February 2013

Diawo Diallo, a legal vacuum.


Diawo Diallo, Guinea, 31 years old suffering from ankylosing spondylitis, a disability that was recognized in 65% and the right dependence which unfortunately cannot benefit financially because, legally, he must have lived at least 5 years in the Spanish territory. His case is alarming, he lives in an absolute precariousness and the law does not protect him. Oscar, its tutor claims for Diawo a specialized centre could accommodate and treat his disease and a remuneration for its disability.



The journey of Diawo

Diawo Diallo was born in Guinea-Conakri in 1981. At the age of 20, he left his country in search of a better life. He travelled to Senegal, Mauritania, Morocco, until he arrived in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in October 2004. He is cared for by the Red Cross, where he spends 1 month at the Immigrant Reception Centre. The humanitarian institution took care of his ticket to Madrid. From there he went to Lérida, where he had a Guinean friend who came to Spain some time before him. But as he had no papers, he did not find work.



Some time later, he met someone who told him about Bilbao and went to the capital of the Basque Country. He was 2 weeks without accommodation until he found someone who offered to share a house with him and registered him in the Town Hall of that city. He began to study the Spanish language, since he knew nothing of the language of his host country. "I asked them how to find a job and they told me to take courses. He signed up for a course in mechanics, which lasted 6 months, as "in my country I worked as a mechanic. Then, as I liked to study, I took two welding courses semi-automatic and electrode". In the welding course, they took him in training, but he couldn't finish them because his pains started.



In January 2009, due to the fact that he obtained a 1 year employment contract in a bar-restaurant in Bilbao, he was able to arrange all his papers, obtain a Temporary Residence Card and live legally in Spain. But, "shortly after starting work, I had to quit because my back pain was almost unbearable". He continued to live in Bilbao because the Provincial Council gave him an economic aid with which he could pay the rent and the food. Diawo continued studying, but in the end he had to be hospitalized.

In 2010, "as the disease attacked me," he went to his country to see if he could find someone to cure him. It wasn't like that. Also, "No one told me that if I went to Guinea, my help would be cut off. He returned to Spain to see what was going on, this time by plane," never again with a boat. Once in Bilbao, he went to the town hall where they told him that they had withdrawn the aid since he left Spain and that if he wanted to have a new subsidy, he would have to start all the procedures again, but by then a new law came out: a maximum of 2 subsidies would be granted to all the tenants of the same apartment. So if Diawo stayed, he would never receive a subsidy again. He had to leave. In the course of this, the Guinean lost all his papers and had no money to rent another flat.



In view of his situation, Diawo contacted a friend who told him to come to Figueres and advance him the money to buy his ticket. He arrived in the capital of the Alt Empordà at the end of March 2011, but it wasn't until April that he got his census and his health card.



Diawo's disease

In August 2012, Diawo obtains his definitive diagnosis at the Figueres Hospital: Ankylosing spondylitis B-27 positive with axial and peripheral involvement (1). The disease began approximately 5 years ago with inflammatory dorsal-lumbar pain. In recent months, polyarthritis of large joints (knees, wrists and ankles) (2) and a marked worsening of analytical parameters have been added: anemia of chronic disorder (3), elevated USG and PCR (4) and leukocytosis (5). At the X-ray of the pelvis there is bilateral sacroileitis (6) in gado IV.Y, at the X-ray of the lumbar spine there are syndesmophytes (7 ).



Diawo should follow a treatment for her ankylosing spondylitis, but she has no money. Gymnastics (especially recommended are extension exercises such as Yoga or Pilates) and physiotherapy would be of great help. Diawo should also follow an expensive pharmacological treatment. His case is very advanced, so a surgical solution, in which the vertebrae that acquired rigidity are fractured and reattached in the correct position with metal plates, can considerably improve the quality of life of Diawo.



When the pain is unbearable, Diawo has a Delusional Disorder (8). Although now, with the medication he is taking, he is controlled and has not repeated it. The first time it happened to him, he went to the Emergency Room of the Figueres Hospital because "I heard voices and felt ants coming out of my eyes. From there he was referred to the Mental Health Centre because they believed he had a psychiatric illness and they medicated him for it. The social worker wanted to put him in a psychiatric facility. Oscar, although he works at the ONCE, has a degree in psychology and assures that "it is not a psychic problem, but a physical one, caused by the strong pains that afflict Diawo". Diawo finds it very difficult to recognise that his illness is chronic. He is still dreaming of a cure in order to lead a normal life. When Diawo met Oscar, he said: "I don't want money, I need a doctor to cure me".



Diawo has a recognized disability of 65% and the law of dependency, from which he cannot benefit, as well as the disability pension, because, legally, he has not been living in Spanish territory for 5 years. You would have to opt for a non-contributory disability pension (9). Also, as he has not lived in Catalonia for 2 years, he cannot receive the PIRMI (10). They have already applied for it in case the City Council decides to grant it from April 2013, when the regulatory period will have expired.



Diawo has had the Tarjeta de Residencia Temporal (11) since January 2009 (although he has been living in Spain since 2004). Diawo has been renewing its temporary residence (the first time in January 2010 and the second time in January 2012). On 14 January 2014 his temporary residence expires and he will be able to obtain the Permanent Residence Card (12). However, Oscar is not very optimistic in this respect: "If the crisis gets worse, it will certainly not be renewed.



Oscar and Diawo

One cold winter day in 2011, Oscar was selling his coupons when he saw Diawo for the first time. The Guinean was walking down the street, "frozen, shrunken and dressed only in a T-shirt, burst jeans and a thin jeans jacket. Oscar took pity on him, approached him and asked for his address. In the afternoon he went to Diawo's house and gave him clothes. From that moment on, Oscar continued to help him as much as he could, and even became his "tutor". He got him a mattress so that he wouldn't sleep on the floor, given his precarious state of health. Every month he gives him some money to buy meat, as Diawo is very low in iron and defences. He buys her shoes when the ones she wears are already burst... It's her "guardian angel"



Oscar got Diawo to be recognised for his 65% disability and the Dependency Act (13), which the Red Cross paid the Guinean 130 € for 3 months to help with the rent of the flat, as well as a one-off payment of 500 €. Also, thanks to Diawo's case reaching the Síndic de Greuges, Figueres City Council gave him another payment of 400 euros. But now he has exhausted all sporadic aid and it is Oscar who gives him what he can.



Oscar divides his time between his job at ONCE and Diawo's care. He takes him to the Red Cross, the social worker, the doctor. But Oscar is tired, he needs someone to take care of Diawo. To do this, he asks to be paid for his disability and for a specialised centre to take him in.



Diawo lives in a small overcrowded flat with 6 more Africans. The other migrants ask him for money to pay the rent and food but "I don't have any money and I always live in fear that one day they will come home angry because they can't find work and they will throw me out on the street. I sit all day watching TV. There is nothing to do."



(1) Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic autoimmune disease with pain and gradual hardening of the joints. It mainly affects the spine, ligaments and sacroiliac joint, but can also affect other joints of the body such as the hip, knees, shoulders and Achilles heel. During the course of the disease, eye inflammations may also occur and other organs, such as the kidneys, lungs and heart, may be affected. The first symptoms usually appear between the ages of 20 and 25. The onset of this disease is closely related to HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) 27 which plays a very important role in the immune system. For this reason it is assumed to be a hereditary disease. The HLA-B27 antigen is positive in 90% of affected patients. From the appearance of the first symptoms to the definitive diagnosis, it usually takes between 5 and 7 years.

(2) Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease consisting of inflammation or wasting of the joints. Inflammation of the joint can result, among other causes, from an autoimmune disease, since the system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue.

(3) Anemia is a lower-than-normal number of red blood cells in the blood. Certain chronic infections, inflammatory diseases, and other conditions can affect the body's ability to produce red blood cells, including autoimmune disorders.

(4) C-reactive protein (CRP) plays a very important role in the inflammatory processes associated with the metabolic syndrome.

(5) Leukocytosis is the increase in the number of white blood cells (leukocytes). Leukocytosis is said to occur when the number of white blood cells exceeds 10,000 per mm3. Common causes of leukocytosis are infections and inflammations (swelling, pain, and redness).

(6) Bilateral sacroilitis is inflammation of both sides of the sacroiliac joint. Sacroilitis is often one of the first symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis. Sacroilitis has several degrees: the IV is the maximum and involves complete ankylosis of the joint.

(7) Syndermophytes are salient bone formations typical of Ankylosing Spondylitis. It starts mainly in the thoracic-lumbar and lumbo-sacral regions but later appears throughout the spine.

(8) Acute and prolonged pain is capable of triggering a series of psychological and physiological responses that can be potentially destructive in patients with limited reserves. Psychologically, there may be anxiety and fear, sleep suppression and feelings of helplessness. These changes potentiate each other and in turn increase pain. In addition, when prolonged, they can lead to responses of anger and resentment, emotional disturbances that can become prolonged. In some patients, pain is an important cause of delirium.

(9) Non-contributory Pensions include invalidity NCPs. This benefit assures all citizens in a situation of disability and in a state of need an economic benefit, free medical-pharm

(10) The PIRMI or Minimum Income of Insertion is an economic aid between 400 and 500 euros given by the Generalitat de Catalunya to people who do not have economic resources and who meet certain requirements so that they can meet the essential needs of life.

(11) Temporary residence is the situation that authorises people to stay in Spain for a period of more than 90 days and less than 5 years. Authorisations with a duration of less than 5 years may be renewed, at the request of the interested party, in accordance with the circumstances that led to their being granted.

(12) Permanent residence is the situation that authorises people to reside in Spain indefinitely and work under the same conditions as Spaniards. Those who have had temporary residence for 5 years on a continuous basis will have the right to permanent residence, even if for holiday periods or other reasons they have temporarily left the national territory.

(13) The Dependency Act aims to regulate the basic conditions for promoting personal autonomy and the protection of dependent persons. This law has created a new Public System for Autonomy and Care of Dependency (SAAD), with the participation of the different administrations, in the space of their competences. This is a new universal and subjective right



Text: Eva Rubio | Photography: Michel Martinez B.