MTC wk 1 - clinics + parties

Without realising it I managed to plan my elective to include the the two biggest celebrations in Mae Sot in December. Ok so that's probably an exaggeration because there is Christmas and people celebrate it here, but you know I got to come on one of the biggest days for the clinic. The first holiday was December 5th which is the Thai King's birthday which is also Father's day. And the second holiday was December 6th which was Dr Cynthia Maung's birthday which is a massive deal at the clinic, and the Burmese people fondly refer to her as their beloved mother so it was in a way kind of nice that they followed each other. I didn't expect that I would be able to meet Dr Cynthia since she is incredibly busy, but I managed to snag this photo with her and another volunteer with the Burmese Children Medical Fund. 

Dr Cynthia was incredibly nice and turned and walked back around to take photos with us as she heard our not so whispered exclaimations of "Ohhh, that's Dr Cynthia!!!". The celebrations for her birthday were two fold. There was an official event during the day at the CDC school with speeches, presents and cultural dances. The director of the Mae Sot General Hospital even dropped by to wish her happy birthday.

Managed to swoop in amongst the cameras and get this picture.
This was my favourite performance because I didn't need to understand a word of it to know what was happening it quite funny. 

The second part of the birthday celebrations was held at the clinic so that the medics who had been working could partake and even patients in wheelchairs came out to enjoy the live music. The morning was very mellow with traditional singing and dancing, the night time was the complete opposite with live music and the only full drum kit I've seen in Mae Sot. They even played Smooth by Santana and all the foreigners were singing along (read shouting loudly) until we realised that they were actually singing it in Burmese. It was kind of fun to be having this massive celebration on the clinic grounds, but probably not so fun for the women in labour.

A proper party by any standards given the size of the mosh pit they had going
So the day before on the King's birthday I rocked up to the clinic early and it was surprisingly quiet, at which point I realised it was closed for the most important public holiday in the country and decided to skip across to the reproductive health inpatient unit. It was incredible. I think I'm in a constant state of awe over the quality and scope of healthcare they are able to provide which such limited funding. I saw both obstetrics and gynae cases, and got to see some tiny tiny babies, at which point I only suffered minor trauma from seeing cases so similar to my practical OSCE exams. 

On my first day when I handed my beanies into the reproductive health unit they looked at me strangely and I was thinking, oh no they thinking I'm stupid because it's so hot they don't need beanies. But then I saw everyone with beanies on whilst they waited for the clinic to open in 18 degree weather the next morning so it was fine. And according to the Bangkok post it got down to 3 degrees celcius at some point yesterday. So I was super happy to see a pair of twins been discharged with my beanies, I should've snapped a photo but didn't want to be awkward about it as I often am. 

The first week I was super keen so I went in on Saturday to the MTC before cycling down the road with the massive pick up trucks to the border.

The market sold handcrafted wooden objects which I can't take into Australia anyways because customs are so strict, but there was a weird mix of toys, electronics and jewellery being sold. It wasn't the most exciting of markets but a tourist destination, with at least half a dozen different tourist buses and vans parked on the side. 

Now that the Thai-Burma Friendship bridge is open there's not as many illegal crossings so I didn't see anyone being pulled across the river on a flotation device since walking across the bridge is safer.

I spent Sunday with people I met during the morning at my guesthouse. We drove to a series of temples and managed with the help of wiki to find the Buddha's footprint. 

What we didn't realise was that it was 200 steps straight up to the first of ten different sites to see on a massive hill. The view was spectacular. I'm lucky it made up for the fact that I lost my pride to a couple of young guys hauling bags of rice up the stairs and overtaking me as I used my arms to help walk my thighs up the stairs. 

Buddha's footprint

Happy crafting!
mel@all.wrapped.up Web Developer

The indecisive crafter

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