Thursday, February 11, 2016

It Was An Accident!!

My three biggest fears here are snakes, car accidents and blunt force trauma to the head with no available neurosurgeons.  That’s it.  I’m being forced to face these fears as last week my husband gallantly saved us from a snake that was crawling in our gutter and a couple days ago Nicole and I were in my/our first car accident in Sierra Leone.    (I’m really hoping I don’t have to face the “closed head injury” fear but…..I am raising a boy.  Oh dear.) 

For those of you who have been here, you know that the driving is just…..crazy.  There are very few rules and what ones there are aren’t really followed.  Except for the “no driving in flip flops rule.”  They’re sticklers about that one. 

Nicole has been driving around our “neighborhood” but I had to go to town for a meeting so she came along and we decided she was ready to tackle driving to Freetown.  As we were driving and she was enjoying the customary honking at people (come on Nicole…you told me you love it) I told her that every time I make it back home from Freetown without an accident I thank Jesus! Literally.

Five minutes later, it happened.  We were driving down the main highway towards town when the car in front of us stopped suddenly.  Nicole did awesome and was able to stop, but the motorcycle riding our bumper wasn’t.  His head broke our back window.  I felt a wave of panic as the reality of what happened hit me.  I looked in the rearview mirror and saw that the driver was wearing a helmet and that all three people who were on the bike climbed off.  Ok.  Everyone was alive.  Thank you Lord.

One of the reasons that accidents are in my top three fears here are because of the things I’ve seen happen AFTER the accident. Things can just escalate very quickly here.  I heard about two ex-pats who were travelling up country.  Their driver hit a person with the car and then fled the scene.  The two guys he had been driving were trying to figure out what to do when a mob gathered and carried the guys into the bush and beat them up pretty badly.  Another friend of mine, a Sierra Leonean, got in an accident involving a pedestrian and a mob immediately gathered.  The policeman that came told my friend that he needed to go with him directly to the police station because he wasn’t safe there. 

So that, combined with the lack of adequate health care, makes me really, really nervous about accidents.  As I watched the people climb off the motorcycle, I sighed in relief that they were ok.  Now what?  You would think I’d have a plan for when something like this would inevitably happen but….I was at a loss.  I knew that if I showed any sign of weakness the whole thing would turn out to be my fault so I put on my “angry face” (kind of like a Mrs. Potato Head) and got out of the car.  I slowly walked to the rear of my car and gave a big “sigh” when I saw that my window was shattered.  I gave the driver a quick glance.  He was definitely shaken.  He had a tiny cut on his hand and said his head hurt (no kidding) but looked ok.  The passengers had already joined the small crowd that was forming, so they seemed to be ok too. 

I had so many emotions boiling up at the same time.  I was shaken by what had just happened.  I was thankful that no one had been hurt.  I was afraid of the whole thing escalating.   And I was angry at the motorcycle driver. I am so so so tired of the recklessness.  He not only put his own life at risk but the two people who he was carrying and every other person on the road.  I didn’t know what else to do so I did what I’ve come to do any time I don’t know what to do.  Call the hubby.  My knight in shining armor.   Or more like shorts and a t-shirt. 
So this isn't a picture of him actually coming, but this is what he looked like in my head. So tough! :)  Especially with Marie's picture riding shotgun........
Peter arrived and we exchanged cars so Nicole and I could make our meeting.   I was so relieved to get out of there.  We left for the meeting and every time I had to brake I watched my rearview mirror in fear!

When I got home later I asked Peter what had happened.  It turn out the guy had no license, his motorbike wasn’t registered and the next day his friend told Peter that he was smoking pot right before he left the house and was listening to music in his earbuds while driving.  Grrrr…..  We were promised a new back window by that evening.  That was a week ago and no window yet.   I’m not holding my breath….. J

1 comment:

  1. Motor vehicle accidents are so very common that it is not at all crazy to be concerned about being involved in one. Especially, since as you stated, you do not have the benefit of adequate health insurance to cover the cost of possible injuries. It is a good idea to make sure that you have adequate auto insurance to help protect you in case you are involved in one at some point.