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The Toughest Place To Be A Paramedic

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Angie Dymott Angie Dymott | 15:23 UK time, Monday, 14 February 2011

Last summer I was browsing my emails, when I came across an interesting one from the College of Paramedics looking for a paramedic to take part in an exciting new BBC Two programme: The Toughest Place To Be A... series.

It appealed to me straight away so I sent a reply never thinking in a million years that I'd be chosen!

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My part in the programme was to travel to Guatemala City to work and live alongside the bomberos (combined paramedics and fire-fighters) for two weeks.

I would be experiencing their day-to-day working life and getting to know their families and the culture.

When I was told by the BBC it was going to be Guatemala, I was very excited, I have done quite a bit of travelling before but never to Central America, and so a whole new set of challenges and experiences awaited me.

When I arrived in Guatemala City I was very tired and just saw a hot and very busy city spread out in front of me.

I was determined before I went to savour every single moment of the opportunity I'd been given and I'd like to think I did that and have come away with wonderful memories.

It was difficult at times - having a film crew ever present was a totally new experience for me but one I had to learn to get used to.

From the moment I met my Guatemalan colleagues, Archie and Wilfredo, I felt very comfortable. They were so warm and welcoming and knowledgeable also.

I was slightly shocked by both the lack of equipment and the condition of the equipment they have to work with.

Angie and her Guatemalan counterpart, Wilfredo

The ambulances are very basic and a lot of the equipment is reused, items such as oxygen masks and airway supports. I soon realised we take a lot for granted back home.

Guatemala City is a violent place to be. Although I did deal with some horrendous jobs, particularly the shooting of a young boy in a busy street, I never once felt in danger myself.

The bomberos are very well respected and have never been a target themselves.

At no point did I doubt my decision to be part of the programme. I learned so much and made some very good friends.

It was emotional at times and also very exhausting but I got so much out of it. I felt very emotional when I attended church with Archie and his family.

I think it was because the previous night had been quite bad and then I was transported to a different place. Very overwhelming.

It made me view my work back in Cardiff very differently and realise how lucky we are and how we moan and whinge about the slightest thing when really there is no need... I made sure I let my colleagues know that as well!

I am now back working my normal shift pattern. I love my work as a paramedic wherever it may be... but my Guatemalan experience was very special!

Angie Dymott is the real life paramedic in The Toughest Place To Be A Paramedic.

The Toughest Place To Be A... series continues on BBC Two and BBC HD on Sunday evenings.

For further programme times, including repeats and national variations, please see the upcoming episodes page.

The series is also available to watch and download in iPlayer until Sunday, 6 March.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.


  • Comment number 1.

    Well done! I watched the program, it was very interesting. I am from Caracas, Venezuela and our streets are not very safe there. The program made me cry because I know how terrible and stressful is living in these conditions. I am living in London married to an European but my family is there....I would like to help them to move somewhere else but....anyway my country is beautiful, my people lovely, friendly, happy all the time, nice weather but.....very very violent environment. Congratulations for your job, for showing the others that reality. BUEN TRABAJO!

  • Comment number 2.

    It is my dream to be a paramedic in the UK I just hope it isn't all about cleaning up drunks and is excitin!

    I really enjoyed this programme it was a dangerous setting to work in but would also be very excitin. The work they do is amazin especially the ones that volunteer!

  • Comment number 3.

    I am a Guatemalan photographer. It is sad to hear what Angie says at the end of the program about life in Guatemala but it is true. I wish I could dream to see my country changing in the near future. All our problems come from not dealing with our near past and not having a fair and including society with respect for everybody's rights and ways of thinking.

  • Comment number 4.


    I found the show very interesting and educational. She was very brave and showed that she could adapt to the situation in Guatemala city.

    I am a serving soldier in the British army for 24 years, and after back packing around Guatemala in 2009, i have decided to move out there. Although the bad side of Guatemala was shown there is also much good in the country too.

    It is a very beautiful country with alot to offer for the traveler, and i would just like to say and hope this would not put any body who may be thinking of visiting Guatemala off the idea.

    Outside of the city and as Angie stated, there are places and people who would open thier houses and give you food if you wanted them too. Very religious and loving people.

    In a nutshell, Guatemala, if you look for trouble you will find it, if you look for the beauty you will find that, in the people and the country.

  • Comment number 5.

    Amazing, I cried all the way through as have some personal experiences in Guatemala. I would very much like to organise a fund raising event here in Dubai for the Bomberos Voluntarios in Guatemala. Is it possible for someone to contact me with a way to donate this money through the event that Angie is doing. Angie you did a wonderful job. Thank you for this.

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi there,
    Thanks to you all for taking time to comment on the Toughest place to be.... I really had an amazing time being involved in the programme and am pleased about the way it has been received. Your comments have been very kind.
    Geordiedune follow your dream of becoming a paramedic, it's the best job and I couldn't imagine doing anything else...yes it can be exciting, even here in the UK.
    Suzanne thank you for your offer of donation, that would be wonderful. My event is taking place on 7th May, you could find me on facebook if you use this facility.
    Everyone else sending you best wishes and once again thank you Angie

  • Comment number 7.

    Angie, Let me know where the event is on the 7th May as i want to support it. I am based in Brecon. Plan to fly back to Guatemala in June. You have inspired me to work with the bomberos in the town i am going to live. Allways donate when they are in the town with there buckets. Find me on facebook Andrew Mark Hollinshead. Together we can do some good for the people of Guatemala.


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