We spent the day in Mae Sot, a small town situated on the Thai/Myanmar border. It is noted for being a primary trade hub between the two countries and home to an abundance of Burmese migrants and refugees. It is also home to the Mae Tao Clinic. Dr. Cynthia, a Burmese refugee forced to flee her country over 20 years ago, began serving her people in a one-room building that has grown into an organized clinic, serving over 150,000 displaced people per year. We toured the facilities today and it is quite obvious what an invaluable resource it is for the people of this area and beyond, many who take great risks to arrive at this location where they can receive free treatment, minor surgery, vaccinations, birthing assistance and more.
I met this little one in the recreation center, a room set aside for children who have accompanied their families to the clinic and need a place to play while their loved ones are treated. A handful of kids sat quietly in the floor, playing with legos and this little girl approached me as I sat near her teacher, curious but reserved.
*Notes: The ‘paint’ on her face is Thanaka, a yellow powder made from tree bark, applied to the face as a natural sun blocker and a method to cool hot skin, most everyone you see is covered with it. The Mae Tao Clinic relies on government and individual donations, you can check out their site to learn more and to support the good work they are doing for the Burmese people.