Chen Degang was watching TV on the second floor of his house in Luozehe, China, when an earthquake that claimed 81 lives hit the area that has been most devastated by the 5.7-magnitude earthquake early this month.
The house collapsed behind him just as he jumped to the ground, injuring his left leg.
He was in pain for a long time as the many aftershocks continued to jolt the town.
Then Degang, 39, met Diarra Boubacar, 48, an African graduate of Chinese traditional medicine, who diagnosed him with a heel tendon contusion.
Boubacar wrapped Degang’s left heel with bandages after applying some medicine, then gave him a bottle of safflower oil and told him to stay off his feet.
When the 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit Luozehe, together with staff from several charity organizations, Boubacar distributed 1,000 bags of rice, 1,000 buckets of cooking oil and tents to local villagers that afternoon.
Before Boubacar left the village, an elderly woman presented him with a bag of freshly boiled eggs. While those affected by the quake are subsisting on potatoes and corn in their temporary shelters, eggs were the best gifts they could offer to a respected guest.
A group of women from the Miao ethnic group donned traditional dress and sang folk songs to bid farewell to Boubacar and the other rescuers.
Boubacar did not always get such a reception. In fact, he had a nasty experience as a newly trained doctor after graduating from Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in 1997.
“I didn’t see any patients at all during my first days as a TCM doctor in Guangzhou,” he said. “We had two doctors to a consultation room. All the patients were lining up to see my colleague. I had nothing to do.”