Thursday, October 08, 2009

Request for More Prayer

One of our friends and teammates sent this email out this afternoon.  Please be in prayer for her and those involved in this accident.


Hello friends,

Since coming to Zambia, I've gotten fairly adapt at using the public transportation. They're called mini buses and have a reputation for being a little crazy in their driving. Traffic in Lusaka is quite bad, particularly at rush hour, and the mini bus drivers will do anything to get even one car ahead.

This morning as I headed out the door, I prepared to take yet another adventure on one of the blue mini buses. Little did I know what lay ahead. There is a compound close to my house called Garden. It has a busy town center and is about 2-3 blocks long. The bus I take to get into downtown Lusaka goes right through the center of Garden. The traffic was terrible this morning and so the bus driver of my bus decided to take a shortcut. He did this by pulling out into the oncoming traffic's lane. There was a big truck about 3 blocks in front of us, so the driver thought that he could at least get a bit ahead. So he gunned it. Just as we reached a good speed, out of nowhere a young boy about the age of 13 ran across the street. He hadn't looked in our direction (why would he since cars don't normally come barrelling down the wrong side of the street) and thought he had enough time to cross before the big truck (which was still coming at my bus) got to him. Suffice to say that my bus driver didn't have enough time to barely break before he hit the young boy.

The boy flew in the air about 10 feet and landed on the ground only to continue rolling until he fell into the ditch on the side of the road. I was in shock as I watched these precedings. A crowd quickly gathered with Zambian men yelling at my bus driver. I saw someone go over to the limp boy's body and pick him up out of the ditch. I winced, knowing that moving him would further any damage already done, or aid the death that, in my opinion, probably had already happened. My fellow passengers started to exit the bus as more and more people gathered, all yelling at the bus driver. I followed and as I got out, the man who had picked up the boy came around the corner of the bus. I moved by quickly and lowered my eyes. I won't describe what the boy looked like, but I don't think he survived. 

Crossing the street I got into another mini bus and just sat in absolute shock. My fellow passengers were all talking in Nyanje (the local language). Some gave me disheartened smiles and we all just shook our heads in disbelief. Soon traffic pulled forward and my new bus passed the one I had just been on. They were putting the boy into the bus to be taken to the hospital. A young woman named Deborah who had been on my original bus sat down next to me. I glanced over at her and saw tears. I touched her shoulder and we stared at each other, weeping. What can one say after an experience like that?

Now that I was on a new bus, I had to pay the bus driver again. I reached into my bag and got my wallet, only to find that I had absolutely no money. Not good - at all. I wasn't in the best of areas and there was no where nearby to get money. I turned to Deborah and asked her if she wouldn't mind paying my fare. While this seems trite, Zambians don't have a lot of money, so to pay even 50 cents for a fare is asking a lot. She graciously said yes. I was quite relieved. 

Tears have come on and off throughout the day as I think about what happened this morning. I try not to play through the scene in my mind, but it keeps coming back. How do you process something like that? I've wrestled with God, asking Him why He would allow something like that to happen. I don't know. 

Is it fair? No. Is it right? No. Can I change it? No. But what I can do is pray for the family of the boy. I pray that they will be comforted as they grieve and mourn.I can only imagine what they are going through right now. I can also pray for the mini bus driver as he will be spending some time in prison (not a pretty place here in Zambia - or anywhere in the world for that matter) for his deed. What he did in trying to get ahead of traffic is actually quite common - he just happened to choose the wrong time to do it and will be one of the ones forced to pay for it. 

I personally am doing ok, although I am a bit shook up. Thankfully there are people here on my team who I can process and cry with. I'd appreciate your prayers, both for me and the boy's family (and for the boy, as I'm not 100% sure that he is indeed dead). 

Thank you for your friendship and partnership as I carry on here in Lusaka, Zambia. It means a lot!

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