Latur, Maharashtra, India—Manasi Tirodkar, Interplast volunteer coordinator/ translator.
All the men, women and children had a story about how they got their burns and by the end of each day we were emotionally and physically exhausted. The sadness in the eyes of our patients often conveyed more than they were willing to say. Sometimes we pieced together the stories with the help of their relatives who accompanied them to the hospital. Those who had been burned by their husbands or in-laws were not always forthcoming about the cause of their burns, but their loved ones wasted no time in telling us the real stories when asked. From mothers of teenage girls who had been accidentally burned, we saw glimmers of hope that their daughter might someday still have a chance of getting married. For other patients, despite the pain after surgery, there was hope of having better quality lives from being less dependent on others for basic needs like dressing and eating.