Unite to end TB

 

Today is World TB day, and it reminded me of an assignment I did 3 years ago with Doctors without Borders.

I traveled to Tajikistan, where I photographed children being treated by MSF for Multiple Drug resistant TB (MDR TB), a very long and hard process for these often very young children.  Try explaining to a 6 year old to take multiple medicine every day that give multiple side effects for about 2 years but which are necessary to get cured …

This year’s World TB theme is ‘Unite to end TB’ and that title reminded me of photographing my first patient in Dushanbe. 18 year old Mijgona, who was the first fully cured MDR TB patient in MSF‘s TB program in Tajikistan, which was being celebrated with a small party.

United in celebrating. A happy moment and hopefully it was a reminder for some of the other children still in process of the treatment, that there was hope.

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© Wendy Marijnissen

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Sheema gi

On this International Women’s day, I want to introduce you to an amazing woman that I am honored to call my friend.

Sheema Kermani, dancer, theatre director and activist from Karachi, Pakistan.

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She lives in a country where women’s rights still have a long way to go. Where some laws might be changing slowly in favor of equal rights, but where implementing these laws is not really happening yet.

She lives in a place where people still look down upon the art of dancing, deemed as unislamic and improper.

All that doesn’t stop Sheema, who is a true force of energy, which is needed to keep motivated in advocating change that isn’t effecting in immediate results. She teaches the Indian classical dance art like Bharatanatyam and Odissi to young women and uses theatre to bring messages of equal rights, violence against women, rape etc to villages all over Pakistan where the majority of the people can’t even read or write.

In an interview with her she also says this: ‘The arts and the women of Pakistan have been the two major victims of Zia’s policies. The state introduced legal and social forms of control over women as part of its campaign of suppression and made women’s sexuality their business. State forces were preoccupied with women’s dress, their movements, their sexuality and their very presence in public spaces. In the name of religion, laws like the “Hudood Ordinances”, “Qisas”, “Diyat” and “Blasphemy Laws” were introduced and are prime examples of laws that devalue women, arts and humanity. The very first programme that was banned on PTV by Gen. Zia ul Haq was ‘Payal,’ a dance programme. But as it happens with anything that is banned, people always find a way to circumvent it. We do not announce our institution as a dance academy. We offer training in dance but call it movement classes. I run Tehrik-e-Niswan and we use dance as a movement for theatre of protest.’

Women like Sheema are an inspiration to me. They breathe energy and power. The power of women.

So… happy women’s day Sheema. Thank you for being a beautiful part of my life.

 

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Happy 2016

Pakistan

© Wendy Marijnissen

I want to wish you a wonderful and happy 2016.

Thank you so much for following my adventures and photographic encounters both at home and on the road.  Here’s to continuing following your path and dreams.

“But who can say what’s best? That’s why you need to grab whatever chance you have of happiness where you find it, and not worry about other people too much. My experience tells me that we get no more than two or three such chances in a life time, and if we let them go, we regret it for the rest of our lives.”  – from Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

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Fairy house

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© Wendy Marijnissen

‘Do you have a fairy house in your garden as well? ‘

‘And does your barby horse have wings and can it fly?’

Elena

I know why the caged bird sings

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© Wendy Marijnissen

 

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

by Maya Angelou

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