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The next update from my 500 mile cycle ride around Myanmar, undertaking building research and raising money for Article25!

Day 3 – heading up north to the countryside 

We took the 15 hour overnight sleeper train from Yangon to Mandalay. It was certainly an interesting experience. Just like a normal sleeper train, but a lot slower, more noisy, more rickety and hot. We had our own carriage with cabins of 4, with a bar in the next carriage a short jump away. In the bar we played cards and learned useful Burmese phrases from a couple of local men.

We got a little sleep on the train before heading straight away to our first rural health centre, a UNOPS project in a small village called Byae Ta Yaw just outside Mandalay

The countryside has a very different feel to it compared to the city, but all the locals are still extremely friendly and welcoming.

At the Health Centre

This rural health centre built in 2015  with funding from the three millennium development goal fund managed by UNOPS. This visit was to get a feel for what we need to look for in the other rural health centres during our cycle ride.

We can also see what works well with this centre and see if we can apply it to the other centres we visit.

After lunch we went for an easy 10 mile cycle ride towards Monywa before we ran out of light and went the rest of the way by coach.

During the ride we saw the worlds tallest standing Buddha at Laykyun Setkyar at 381 feet tall!

We are all now at our hotel contemplating what the rest of the cycle ride has to offer.

Bye for now!

Day 4- Then Bagan, our next challenge… 

And what a challenge it was! Our first long ride in the blistering heat, travelling 80 km before lunch. We set off at 7am out of the town Monywa through lots of villages where we were greeted by many people shouting ‘min ga la ba!’ as we rode past. As we lost some miles the day before, many opted to ride during the hottest part of the day, just before lunch, when we were supposed to be on the coach. I, on the other hand, tried my best

to power through but ended up putting my health first by getting on our coach, until lunch. My pride was was restored 20 minutes later when the rest of the group got on the bus!

After lunch we got on a boat for a 2 hour boat ride towards Old Bagan along the Irrawaddy River. By now it’s over 33 degrees and we’re all glad we’re not cycling.

After we arrived in Old Bagan, we cycled 15km through some very quite and peaceful area with sandy terrain to visit our second health centre in a village between old and new Bagan. There we spoke split into groups to survey different aspects of the centre from sustainability and fire safety to local surroundings and operations.

More to come over the weekend!

Tim Wiseman
About the Author
Tim Wiseman has experience in energy efficiency and sustainability in social and private housing as well as planning, Working at BRE as Scheme Manager of BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment. All views are my own

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