It was the last Sunday in July. Early in the morning I was riding a motorbike to lead the service in a church outside Antananarivo. Suddenly a dog ran across the road in front of me. I startled but I could not stop so I fell on the tarred road. My right shoulder hit the ground first. Fortunately, no car was coming behind me or from the other side.
I got up and checked myself. I felt that my right shoulder did not feel good, but I could still move it. After verifying that there was no damage to the motorbike, I managed to get it back upright and push it to the side.
While the accident was happening, there were already a lot of people along the road. Some were drinking coffee in a small store nearby. Only one man came and asked me if I was okay. Furthermore, I heard a lady screaming: “Oh, the dog again”! Everyone else was just watching.
Despite some pain in my shoulder, I was able to fulfill my plans for the day – nobody noticed anything about my accident.
…and its effects
The next day I had an X-ray. It showed a non-displaced fracture of the humeral head. I had to immobilize my arm in a sling for six weeks. During that time I had to learn to do everything with my left hand: Eating, writing, typing, etc. Activities I was used to before, such as riding a motorbike or driving a car, were suddenly no longer possible. This was a big challenge for me, because I could no longer do some daily tasks that were so normal for me. On top of that, I couldn’t provide the help I would have wanted to a family member at my home who was sick – because of the sling.
As the fracture was still visible after six weeks, I had to wait another three weeks before I could start physical therapy. Today I am in a “re-learning phase” as some movements of my right arm are still limited.
The need in our society
My experience reflects the situation in my society:
- People are exposed to a high risk of accidents. This requires more caution from everyone and better organization from policymakers.
- There is a lack of first responders and knowledge about first aid. Hardly any people are willing or able to help in the case of an accident – behind this are unawareness, lack of consideration or even fear.
- The people in Madagascar need to be sensitized and trained on what to do in case of an emergency.
My experience showed me once again the importance of AiNA soa – to offer first aid training to the people of Madagascar.
For me personally, the unexpected accident brought a lot of inconveniences. Nevertheless, I was also able to learn new things through it, such as developing the skills of my left hand, which would probably not have been possible otherwise.