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PWRDF is responding to emergencies in Indonesia and the Philippines.

But Where Do You Put the Patients?

Bicycle Ambulances in the Vancouver airport

July 24, 2016

By act

PWRDF, in collaboration with the Sorrento Centre, is holding its third food security course titled, Sharing Bread (Three), from July 24 to 30. Each day, staff and participants will blog about the experience. Today’s blog is written by Suzanne Rumsey, PWRDF’s Public Engagement Coordinator, and co-facilitator of the week together with Sheilagh McGlynn, justgeneration.ca (youth) Facilitator.

You can’t plan an encounter like this, a moment of grace, of human connection, of learning.

Accompanying our partners, Farida Akhter and Liza (Fahema) Khatun from UBINIG, Bangladesh through the Vancouver airport, we were all pulled up short by the sight of two bicycle ambulances. Complete with decals from the “B.C. Ambulance Service” and very large panniers (bike bags), they were parked along one the airport’s large hallways while the two paramedics associated with the bikes attended to a traveller.

When it appeared they had completed their work, we approached them to explain that Farida and Liza worked for an organization in Bangladesh that operated bicycle ambulances to take expectant mothers to medical facilities.

Bangladeshi partners learning about Canadian bicycle ambulances
Bangladeshi partners learning about Canadian bicycle ambulances

Farida’s first question to them was, “But where do you put the patients?” The paramedics explained that they come to the patients in the airport and attended to them on the spot, rather than transporting them elsewhere. They then proceeded to show Farida and Liza the medical equipment they had in the bags: blood pressure and heart monitors, oxygen, and many other tools of their trade.

And then they went on their way and we went on ours to board our flight to Kamloops and then the Sorrento Centre in the B.C. central interior. We will be here for the next week together with PWRDF volunteers and others who have come to learn about food security and maternal, newborn and child health, and about the links between the two.   “Sharing Bread (Three)” is our third course on food security held in collaboration with the Sorrento Centre.

Please join us as participants in the course reflect on their experiences through a series of daily blogs and photos. We are all looking forward to a rich time of moments of grace, of human connection, of learning and teaching.

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