I am typing this blog at the end of my first day back at work, slightly jet lagged, reflecting on what an amazing life experience I have been on during the last two weeks.
I have been incredibly lucky to spend two weeks cycling around in an amazing country with stunning scenery and friendly people in the company of 13 other fellow cyclists, all of whom share the same desire to help improve the healthcare system in Myanmar by helping write a Design Guide for the Myanmar Government.
The trip kicked off with a launch event in the centre of Yangon with presentations on the project we were about to embark upon, healthcare architecture and energy from farm waste. We were also treated to lovely food and great music from local band Empty Pocket.
The ride itself was the toughest I have ever done with the heat, humidity, terrain and inclines, yet it was the most rewarding. The best moment I had was when I was struggling to cycle up a steep hill and out came a small boy from his house to give me a high five. This encouragement gave me the happiness and energy to get to the top!
Our group of architects, an engineer, a sustainability consultant and a photographer were able to cover a range of tasks during 10 rural health centre (RHC) visits, from sketching plans to surveying services to the building, for example electricity and water.
Another key task was to interview the staff of the RCHs to ask about the services they provide, the number of patients they treat and how the centres function. This would not have been possible without the help of Kyel Sin, a Burmese architecture student sponsored by the BRE Trust to join us for the expedition. Kyel Sin’s knowledge of the healthcare system as well as the ability to translate our interviews were essential for us to get all the information we needed for the Design Guide.
Either side of the trip, we had the opportunity to host workshops to teach local students and professionals about our areas of expertise, whether that was BREEAM, healthcare architecture or architecture photography. All the workshops went really well and were attended by many interested delegates with lots of positive feedback.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many people who made this trip possible.
- Josine Lambert, Tom Dollard and everyone at Article 25 for organising this amazing trip and research project.
- The BRE Trust for supporting me on this trip and for sponsoring Kyel Sin, allowing her to join us
- Kyel Sin herself for all her help in getting information from the RCHs.
- San Ju, the local tour guide, for leading us on the cycle ride and finding us an extra seven rural health centres along the way.
- Finally to everyone who has sponsored me for this trip allowing me to almost meet my target of £2,000
Thank you very much for reading my blogs for the last two weeks! I hope you enjoyed them.