This is a village where the people melt away. Tucked into the sunbaked rolling hills of Brazil’s midwest, Araras is home to what is thought to be the largest single group of people suffering from a rare inherited skin disease known as xeroderma pigmentosum, or “XP.” Those with the disease are extremely sensitive to ultraviolet rays from sunlight and highly susceptible to skin cancers. It robs victims of the ability to repair the damage caused by the sun. That’s a particularly vexing burden in Araras, a tropical farming community where outdoor work is vital for survival. “I was always exposed to the sun – working, planting and harvesting rice and caring for the cows,” said Djalma Antonio Jardim, 38. “As the years passed my condition got worse.” Agriculture is no longer a real option for Jardim. He survives on a small government pension and meager earnings from an ice cream parlor he runs. XP shows early signs that it has taken hold of its victims. More