Something very weird and something unforgettable happened to me December 23rd. As I was traveling back to my site via collectivo, I was spacing out. Crammed in the backseat of a car, I was staring off into the mountains, thinking of what I was missing at home with family and friends. Tired after sleeping only a few hours the night before, and then spending the day in Trujillo. Out of nowhere, everyone else in the car started screaming and yelling ‘Stop, Stop!’ much to my bewilderment. So the car pulls over and I see another car on the other side of the road, and to my right I see another car flipped over in the irrigation cannel, and screams coming from inside the car. The next thing I know I ran down into the cannel to help people get out of the car, where a good portion of it was submerge in the water. We pulled two people out of the backseat, and I leant my knife to cut the seatbelts up front. Then about six of us lifted the car up so the women could crawl out of the ditch and onto land. I checked on that women and then asked and looked to see if there were any injuries to the other people. I had a towel in my bag and I gave it to a woman to cover up and try to keep a little warmer. And thankfully, there were only minor scrapes and everyone went home that night.
It all happened so fast, and it is kind of a blur in my mind. But it was a very impactful scene. Just thinking more of everything surrounding the accident. I didn’t get the full story of what happened, but I heard that the overturned car was cut off by a drunk driver. And seeing as the road to my site isn’t in the best condition (still under construction), it’s easy to see how the driver probably swerved to avoid the collision and ended up in the ditch. Also rare is that the police didn’t show up. They called to the station and since everyone was rescued and there were no major injuries, they had to go to the police to file the report. Our taxi driver called for anther driver to come pick up the family, and then when that car came along we left.
The other thing was that this type of thing is somewhat normal in the community, and since there were no deaths it wasn’t really sensationalist. I told my family about it and their reaction was only with mild surprise and then changed the subject. Even after we left, everyone in my car was kind of joking about the situation and that the family wanted to go into the car to get their things. IT just struck me as odd that an event where people could have died was taken so lightly. Maybe it’s just culture…after all, nobody did die so where was the gravity of the situation. And is it worth it to stress over it?
So what do I take from this? We could talk about revaluing life and making the realization that things happen so rapidly for both the bad and the good. You could talk about faith and whether divine intervention was involved or you could talk about fate and whether the car was meant to fall into the ditch or I was meant to be in the car behind. All I know is that now I carry my knife with me all the time.