Tuesday, March 21, 2006

How can life be boring and so-far-from-boring at the same time?

Last week Ian was in an accident. Sadly, it's not an uncommon occurrence here and I guess after 6 months we were due.

Ian was idling at a stoplight when he was hit from behind by a moto that had glanced of a taxi, rammed into our tail end and slid under the car. We've ordered a replacement tail light and the bumper will require some hammering. One other piece of moulding popped off and we're attempting to order a replacement for that as well.
Having an accident is never good, no matter where you are. It's costly, it's nerve-racking and of course it can cause injury or even death. Beyond those worries, here in Lome' we face the additional threat of "the mob." See, anytime there's an accident, no matter where you are or who is at fault, within seconds the scene is surrounded by up to hundreds of people. They aren't there to see that everyone is fine, they are there to keep anyone involved from running off. Ian had to wait for the moto to be pulled from under the car (it was totalled), but when he tried to pull our car to the side of the road, the mob started shouting and getting angry. They thought he was going to leave. To understand how quickly this sort of situation can get out of control, last month another Embassy person had an accident with a moto and the mob surrounded her tires with huge rocks. When she attempted to move her vehicle, they began pelting the car with stones, shattering her windows and injuring her as well. All this in the matter of minutes until the investigators arrived from the Embassy not five minutes away. The mob is not to be taken lightly. As for Ian, he made it clear enough he was simply getting off the street and they did let him move.
Yesterday we learned more about the moto driver via the Embassy investigators (anyone else find it a little ominous the Embassy has its own investigative team? I'm thankful of course, but a little creeped out). So, the investigators reported back that the other driver is currently in prison. He was taken in by the police once they realized he was high on cocaine and needed time to come down and become coherent. Can you believe the driver didn't have insurance? I'm shocked, shocked I tell you. Supposedly his family will be held accountable for paying for our repairs, but I'm not holding my breath. It doesn't matter, really. We will fix our car, and pray that this is the last vehicular mishap.
There's a humorous side to this story. Our car is quite recognizable in this town, and more than a few head turn when it's out. It's simply a matter of being big, blue and (practically) brand new. Our vehicle is rare in a country like Togo. Ian said the motorpool supervisor and the Ambassador's driver seemed more upset about the accident and damage than even Ian. OK, that's not the funny part. The Ambassador's driver is upset because he was hoping to buy the car from us when we leave post. That moto driver hurt his hopeful future carbaby.

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