• theGREENtravelbug

Burmese hospitals and hospitality

Mis à jour : 3 déc 2019

When I arrived in my hostel I talked to the owner and got excited about my time in Myanmar. I made a plan for hiking, temples, lakes and mountains. One part of the plan was running a marathon in a national park to warm up for the ultra marathon I had planned to run in North West India. Before I tried this, I wanted to buy a hydration vest to have enough water on me during the run. A couple of kilometers from the hostel, there was an outdoors store that had the vests. I would run there and finish with a 20 km run in a nearby park. I was excited and felt like having a decent workout.

After the first three kilometer, I got really close to the store. I was warmed up and I felt great. I had a big grin on my face as I approached my destination. And then the unexpected happened. I fell. One of the tiles in the sidewalk broke as I stepped on it and my leg fell half a meter down the hole. I got up after the fall, ready to continue, but I had to stop after a couple of steps. Blood was gushing out of my leg and my shoe was already soaked in dark red blood. The tile had cut me badly. I walked some steps back to a bus stop and asked for help. Two young locals rushed towards me to help. They had diapers on them for some newborn in the family and used it to cover the wound and stop the blood. We used as many things as possible to put pressure on the wound. We made it tight and the blood seemed to slow down. We made our way to the closest doctor but found his practice was closed. I asked the locals if it would be expensive and they confirmed it would be. I panicked a little. I had no insurance at that time and did not want to end up financially ruined.

We took a taxi to the hospital and as I was pushed around in a wheelchair, I tried to remember my bank details to quickly book an insurance before I paid anything. I managed to finish paying before I went into the emergency room. The doctor decided to take an X ray of my leg to see if it was broken. Luckily my bones were okay. The improvised bandages were taken off and the wound was cleaned. I got a sedative and the doctor started stitching the wound. All this time, the two young men stayed next to me, holding my hand, translating what I didn't understand and talking to me to distract me from the pain. When I was all stitched up, I asked how much I had to pay and I mentioned I had insurance.

The clerk looked me in the eye and told me everything was free and I was good to go. When we went out, the two guys got me my medicines and some dinner. They took me all the way to the doorstep of my hostel and each time I tried to thank them with words, money, food or anything else, they refused and insisted what they did was only normal. I was a guest in their country and it was their responsibility to take care of guests. I was touched by their pure and genuine hospitality and I wondered if we would do the same to a stranger in Belgium. I wanted to tell myself we would, but I honestly wasn't sure.