A Malaysian man who had been working in Japan wanted to avoid infecting others with coronavirus. In order to do so, he walked about 75 miles from Kinabalu to his hometown Kota Marudu. It took him about three days to cover the distance.
Alixson Mangundok is the 34-year-old man who was afraid he carried the coronavirus. He decided that public transportation was not an option during his trek.
Something interesting happened, however, when he passed a cemetery near the start of his journey. A dog met up with him and joined him for the walk.
“I thought it would leave me halfway through but it stayed with me the whole way, that is why I decided to adopt Hachiko,” Mangundok said.
Perantau di Jepun. Pulang ke kampung halaman di Kota Marudu dengan berjalan kaki sejauh 124 kilometer. kenapa??? sebab…
He decided to name the dog Hachiko, a well-known reference, due to the loyal Japanese Akita dog by the same name.
Mangundok thought that he would be held in a quarantine center run by the state when he arrived at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport from Japan. After samples were submitted for testing, the doctor said he was fine to self-quarantine at home.
He still wanted to avoid risking the health of his relatives who would have to pick him up, so Mangundok decided he would walk home.
“I decided to walk all the way to Kota Marudu because I am used to walking for kilometers and days from my time hunting and farming,” he said.
Mangundok is the youngest child out of 12 siblings and he has two children of his own. The majority of his life has been spent overseas working in Singapore, Algeria, Australia, and South Korea.
As they continued their journey, the man and his faithful companion rested at bus stops and went into convenience stores for sardines so Hachiko could eat. Weather conditions and roadblocks were a problem along the way.
“At every roadblock, the policeman and other security forces on duty would ask where I was going and when I told them that I was headed to Kota Marudu, they could not believe it but eventually I convinced them that I was not joking,” Mangundok said.
Although the officials had offered Mangundok a ride, he declined, saying: “I have this dog and I don’t want to pose any health risk to anyone, even though the doctors said I should be clear.”
When he was about halfway home, his brother drove past. He waved to his brother when he was passing.
“He waved back but did not recognize me as I was shielding my face from the glare of the sun, and I had a dog with me, so he just drove off,” he said.
Mangundok was later recognized by his brother’s supervisor and, at that point, his brother came back to pick him up. He told the family that he had been walking for three days and wanted a car to be sent so that he and his new dog could drive the rest of the way home.
“I did not go see my parents upon reaching Kota Marudu but went straight to a small hut on the farm because it would be safer for everyone,” he said.
“I won’t rest and will not meet my family until the hospital gives me confirmation that I am free from this virus. For now, Hachiko and I spend our time together at the hut.”
On April 7, Mangundok was screened a second time at Kota Marudu hospital. He was given clearance that he did not have COVID-19 at that point.
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