My Hour in a Burmese Hospital

Off the beach, through the village and beyond, following a map drawn my the kind pharmacist. Over make shift bridges, past pigs and boys with sparkling ear rings. Perfectly tendered agriculture – tiny strips photosynthesizing in the mid afternoon light, by the sides of wooden homes, houses, ,shacks, below the concrete road. Uphill the Myanmar flag blowing proudly in the distance. A trotting lady heading to Buddha with flowers, the offer of a beer and tens of projected smiles. Min Gala Ba.Up hill, flag bound passing locals in wicker head wear, one walking, looking in such pain – perhaps post operative? The maps correct arrows followed and we arrive, me clutching my needle and fluid ready for my shot. Its been a long three months without it.

A hospital of some size, plonked in the middle of a field. No front doors as i head in and sit in the waiting room. I ask for a doctor. No uniforms, no identification badges, just people i assume to be medical professionals due to their geographical location. I look around.

Doors leading off the central space – Nurse, X-ray, Theater, Treatment. One lady living in the darkness connected to a drip. Her image in color but almost black and white. Another lady back in the reception area with her right eye half way down her face, in the middle of her cheek, but still so very beautiful. Tall and elegant in her glorious poise, clutching her baby, there for whatever reason.

A nurse? fills the syringe and hands it to a doctor? I am led to a bed in a small dark room feeling very un-nervous, due to the overall feeling of calm. A space which almost brings me to tears. What do people do here when they have cancer, road accidents, HIV?

No sirens, no ambulances, no clashing of trolley’s and no nurses with fat calf’s. A quite hospital with a sensation of rest, calm and peace but also a sense of limitation.

I sit on the bed, he points to an arm and i choose one. He grins, raises up the shot and he inserts. I always feel the fluid going straight into the muscle, pushing its way in. He withdraws, pushes on cotton wool and we smile. Done for another twelve weeks. I look to the floor splattered with blood or pan or blood?  “Thank you so much”, i say, “Chezubeh”. I rise and walk into what i assume to be an office and ask how much. He points to a donation box. I insert four days wages in return for him inserting the fluid i was craving.

Again i thank all and head back through the field, down the concrete road past the proud flying flag. Past the lady in the bed, the mother and her child, past the pigs, over the make shift bridges. Past the boys with the sparkling ear rings and through the village, back toward my little room, amongst space, overlooking the sea on the beach.


  1. MummaZita

    Ah, Michael, you were right… The words paint the picture… When they are words as fine as these… So glad to have your record of MY experience too… Sans the injection, of course… Xoxo, MZ


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