My name is Bwe Ah, I was born in La Boe Village, Papun Disrict (K5), Myanmar. I am 20 years old. I have five brothers and three sisters and I am the second to last youngest sibling. My parents are farmers, they grow rice and vegetables for our family’s needs. Unfortunately, in the rainy season, if the crops are damaged or destroyed because of heavy rain, the men in the family have to go out and earn money in other ways. We would have to buy food from the nearest city, which is very expensive for us. Four of my brothers and three sisters are married and living their own life in my village. My younger brother and I are still studying.
My village is a small-sized village; we have approximately 35 families. My village does not have any electricity hub or government electricity. So, we use solar panels to generate electricity. We don’t have any basic facilities in our village; no proper roads and no clinics. The nearest clinic from my home is a 45 minute walk, which is complicated for patients in serious conditions. I started 1st grade in my own village when I was 6 years old and I studied there for 3 years. Then I moved to Taungoo city where I studied until 9th grade.
Taungoo city is very far from my hometown, it took almost 2 days of traveling to get there. I moved to the city for 6 years because my elder sister, who lives with her husband, asked me to come and study there. After completing 9th grade, I went to Mae La refugee camp at the Thai-Burmese border to continue my studies and graduated there. From childhood, I’ve always had a keen interest in learning and speaking English. That is why I went to the camp, to learn more English, because in the city the teachers only taught me in Burmese language. Mae La camp was one day away from my village. I stayed in the camp with my elder brother, who was already studying there for the past 6 years. My parents were fine with me going so far to study because I wasn’t living alone; first I had my elder sister in the city and then I had my brother in the camp. Personally, I loved living in Mae La camp. We could study, and play, and learn any time we wanted. And it was safe, so we did not have to worry about war or conflicts.
After graduation I went back home and joined a local 1-year medic training for 8 months. I stayed in the training clinic and learned about medicine. I decided to join the training because our community has a lot of patients and very few professional medics. Patients include all age groups from children to old-aged people. While I was in the clinic working as a medic, I heard about Earth Mission Asia from my leader. He told me about the Physician Assistant Training Program and how it could help me learn a lot more about medicine. I felt that this program would help me get more knowledge and prepare me better to help patients. Because we also get to learn intensive English, I thought I could kill two birds with one stone, learn English and train to become a better medic.
After I complete my studies here at EMA, my plan is to go back to my village and help my people as much as I can. My first priority is to train the younger generation who have an interest in medicine. I want to share my knowledge for free with my own community so that more local people can get help in our area. Secondly, I would like to work in a clinic, help patients and teach other medic students. In 2015, I saw so many patients who were visiting a nearby hospital. Some of these patients were not properly diagnosed because the medics did not have enough medical training. Furthermore, there were not enough medics to see all the patients. Seeing this made me realize that I need to be a change agent and should try to better our healthcare situation. Our local leaders are trying very hard to help our community. Seeing them working day and night to improve the community makes you want to also be a part of something bigger than yourself.
I believe youth plays an important role in any community and that is why I would like to request that my leaders and community believe in the upcoming generations; to encourage them and lift them up. Without youth we will not be able to uplift our people. Today’s youth will be the leaders of community tomorrow, believe in them and do not discourage them. Secondly, please never give up in whatever you do. Always make goals and try to achieve one thing at a time.