On the first anniversary of my father’s death, I find myself occupied with the launch of a new website. How fitting, because he would have loved this project.
Barefoot Acupuncturists offers acupuncture to the poor in the slums of Mumbai, and is creating a model that could be applied in other places. Its founder, Walter Fischer, a Belgian acupuncturist, sees acupuncture as an effective, versatile and economical medicine. In his Mumbai clinic, it is particularly in demand for relieving physical pain enforced by poverty, especially on women who bear the load of heavy domestic work.
Flemming travelled with me in Nicaragua for 3 weeks in 1987. It was a highlight of both our lives. I came to understand his deep humility in his willingness to experience life as it is lived by the poorest of people. For that was the grounding of his political philosophy: that the lot of “the people” – the majority of the population with no particular standing in society, who strive to feed their families and provide what comfort can be obtained – should be improved.
He would have been so pleased that I could be involved in promoting Barefoot Acupuncturists, an organization that seeks to improve the access of the very poor to health care, and in so doing, in Walter’s words, “make the world a slightly better place”.
The Barefoot Acupuncturists website tells a lot more about their story in English, French and Chinese (Spanish coming soon). Both the website and the blog feature Walter’s beautiful photography. The blog, in French only, is worth looking at for the pictures alone.