We visited the picturesque small town on the Austrian border, where the ambulance was called only once in the last decade. Hegyhátszentmárton, also known as the Gate of the Guard, is a pocket settlement: there is only one way to approach and leave the village. Its residents know each other well, so everyone knew exactly to whom and why the ambulances went out years ago. Our employees immediately found the middle-aged man. Csaba Kiss suffered serious, brutal injuries, but luckily escaped the accident.
– That day, I was working at home, doing renovations, when I cut into the paneling with a flex. The tool got stuck and then slammed into my shoulder – Csaba began his astonishing story for Vasárnapi Blikknek.
– I inflicted a brutal, large and deep wound on myself, we tied off the blood circulation with a belt, but otherwise it didn’t take ten minutes for the ambulance to reach me. I’m sorry that I messed up the perfect statistics of the village – said the man laughing today, who even showed our colleagues an almost fatal move with the dangerous tool.
The local mayor has held office in the settlement since the beginning, in 1990.
– When an ambulance comes in, we notice it immediately, especially if the siren sounds, and the news spreads quickly. We don’t have a difficult task: there are about seventy people living in the village. The settlement is not getting old, there are also plenty of young people living here. Everyone knows each other and we look out for each other. Hegyhátszentmárton is an island of calm – began László Pál.
A joint mayor’s office operates in the neighboring village, Ivánc. There is only one office and a library in the local government building. There is nothing in the world in the village: no pub, no shop, not even a hairdresser. Although the building of the former has been completed, even the inscription is there, but the curtain was pulled down twenty years ago. Alcohol, which often triggers conflicts, cannot be obtained this way.
– Excessive drinking is not typical in the village, there are no hecklers or shouting. We usually have a village day once a year, and then there is music and noise, but that is what people demand. The police have never had to come here to take action, last year, for example, there was not a single minor crime, said the 65-year-old man, who has lived in the village since 1984. As he said, in the past there was only one telephone in the settlement: you had to go to the office building to call an ambulance.
“There is no passing traffic and no escape.” A few weeks ago, a fire truck sounded its siren, then suddenly turned around and drove away. It turned out that the address was misspelled, the alarm was wrong. The people living at the intersection used to talk if they saw a foreign car, he added.
80-year-old József Sütő has lived in the village since childhood. When we arrived, the pensioner was basking in the sun behind his fence.
– And before the flex accident, the ambulance was here six years ago, and it came right to us. My mother-in-law broke her leg with us. He suffered a femoral neck fracture, then unfortunately he died – Uncle Józsi shook his head.
Interesting fact: although there are very few people living in the village, the route of the National Blue Tour leads right through them, so relatively many people visit Hegyhátszentmárton. When we were there, a 25-year-old man was walking around with his backpack. Zsolt said that he is happy that he can feel safe in the area.
The oldest resident of the village is 87-year-old Mária Emilné Tóth. The deeply religious woman lives alone next to the church, where, to her chagrin, only two masses are held a year. Around her neck hangs a device called a care watch, with which she can notify her daughter, who works next to the family doctor in the neighboring village, in the event of a problem with the press of a button.
“So much has happened to me since I was a child.” I pray a lot, and maybe God will help me to be alive. I have also suffered a serious car accident, but at that time a bomb was dropped next to me when the Russians entered the country. The structure exploded in my neighbor’s manure pile, and the scattered manure even flew to the other end of the village. But I got away with that too, whispered Aunt Mariska happily.
“It’s calm here, I’ve almost never met an ambulance.” The last time there was a death here was two years ago…
76-year-old Margit lives on the other side of the settlement. Previously, he did physical work on Ivánc, which after a while caused his joints to hurt terribly. On the edge of the village, however, they found a hot water spring, which many believe to be healing water. At first he didn’t believe it, but after taking a dip, all his previous pain was gone. Nowadays, he often goes out to pick mushrooms in the forest, where the air is even cleaner.
Árpád was born in Ózd, but has been living in Hegyhátszentmárton for 35 years. In the past, an ambulance was called to him many times, but since he has been living here, the dog has been fine.
“There used to be a pub and a shop here, but now there is nothing.” I cycle to the neighboring village, where I always drink a spritz or two, and then bring the bread home. I raise hens that give eggs, I have no problem with anything – he laughed.
Bernadett Horváth works at the local government as a so-called public culture specialist: her tasks include program organization, editing posters, invitations, website and community page management, but she is also a member of a cultural association.
“The people living in the settlement pay attention to collecting their medicines, so there are not so many patients,” boasted the 42-year-old woman.
Gábor lives here with his wife, their 5-year-old daughter and their 1-year-old son.
– There is no through traffic, we don’t have to be afraid of the little ones if we let them out to play on the street. Everyone knows everyone and there are no break-ins, added the head of the deep-rooted family.