Bijapur, Chhattisgarh, India There were butterflies everywhere. Buffalos were bathing in the midst of infinite green. As I wandered through rice fields, armies of cows and goats passed by. Rows of women walked elegantly in their colorful saris, carrying firewood on their heads. Older children greeted me with a timid “Namaste”. Younger ones shouted “Tata” and waved vigorously. My day became warmer, not sure whether it’s due to the rising sun or their magical smiles. There was a magnificent India Banyan with generations of root dipping into the fertile earth, as if stating no one can force her out of her land. A harmonious picture. So, why are we here? Hints are everywhere telling us this is a beautiful deception. There are policemen stationed every few hundreds meters carrying heavy weapons, silently watching. Just dozens of kilometers away there are land mines waiting to blow some legs off. Locals report daily unjustified killings or tortures of innocent villagers; Whom were accused of taking sides in the conflict whilst their freedom of choice is violently taken away; Whom were internally displaced from their homelands and their ways of living; Who are hidden, voiceless and invisible. In the MCHC (Mother and Child Care centre) situated in Bijapur town we serve mainly women and children. Many of them walked miles to reach us. Some are in very bad conditions due to delays. We lose lives but are conscious that those who are able to reach us are already the lucky lots. Many simply cannot present themselves as they face the threat of being killed on the road. Our mobile clinic team walks into the interiors - our attempts to reach the most vulnerable. We are filled with hunger to see beyond the deception, to find the hidden, to hear the voiceless and to see the invisibles. This Friday I will join them. I am eager. With sharing I feel that all of you are with me and this offer great support. So, thank you for reading. Namaste.
Bea LAU, medical doctor from Honk Kong, joined MSF mission in India in 2010.