One beautiful Saturday after a morning hike up Volcano Pacaya, I headed back to the city with a short term TEAM intern and a friend in my car. We were headed to drop off my friend and then back to my place. There was so much traffic that day, normally the drive from the Volcano to the city would be 60-90 minutes, but this day it was over 3 hours!
Then began the whirlwind of activity. What do I do now?
So I asked another driver and they said to call my insurance, so I did. While waiting the police came and took down my name and took my important documents that I have to carry whenever I drive. The insurance mobile office arrived quickly and I had to give them a statement about what happened. Then they told me that the police were requiring everybody to go to the hospital. I was fine, and my passenger was fine, so there was no need to go to the hospital. After a while, the insurance finally said that I didn't need to go to the hospital, but they still called an ambulance and I did have to be checked out at the scene.
After a few more confusing discussions with the insurance, I sat in the ambulance. I was fine like I told them, except for a sky-high blood pressure - but completely with reason!!! Gratefully, more for my passenger than for me, the medic spoke English! So, finally my poor passenger could understand a bit of what was going on! She was fine, but confused and I didn't always have time to translate! I had tried to call a few people and nobody was able to answer their phones, so I didn't have anybody to come to the scene and help me figure things out. After trying a few people, I decided that I was fine and I could just handle everything without extra help.
|waiting in the ambulance|
Now what, no car, and looking at a minimum of 6 weeks before getting it back!
Thankfully, the next 2 weeks I didn't have trouble getting around without my car thanks to getting rides from others, or the one week I was traveling with a group to a rural clinic. After those 2 weeks is when things started getting trickier. My mechanic was able to lend me a car, but it was a stick shift. Now, I've been driving a stick shift van around the city a couple times a month for the past few months, but it was different driving one everywhere! It also caused a few adventures - I had a flat tire about 5 minutes after driving it for the first time - not my fault, just bad tires. Then that same day I got stuck stopping on an incline and could not make the car go forward without first rolling back so far I got scared I was going to hit the other car and stalled the car - many times! Finally the cars moved around me and I was able to get going, but after quite a few very stressful minutes!!!
The only thing I really wasn't able to do during those weeks was to drive to the rural clinic about 1 hour outside of the city as well as drive to the same place on Saturdays to help teach in the nursing school.
Then, last week I received a call from the insurance company that said I could come pick up my car, however, I would have to return it at the end of September because they are waiting for a part to come. But, it's safe to drive if I want.
I go to the shop to pick up my car. First I noticed that they fixed the back half of the car - the part most damaged in the accident, but not the front that was also scraped up from the accident! I was shocked, but they told me that there was no approval of fixing the front part by the insurance. Then there was all this confusion because the insurance company told me not to pay the deductible until the car was completely fixed in September, but the people at the shop insisted that I pay the deductible before being able to drive the car away that day. Lets just say that I left the shop very frustrated, but I did get to leave with my car and didn't pay the deductible!!!
All seemed fine that Friday afternoon driving my car away, and I was very, very happy to have my car back - even if it would only be for a few weeks without having it go back to the shop.
I got up early Saturday morning excited to be able to go to nursing school for the first time in weeks!
I started driving and after about 10 minutes noticed that the car was driving a little funny, maybe like it was out of alignment. Then I got frustrated because I thought, why wasn't the car aligned, or what if the shop is going to blame me for damaging the car when they didn't do something they were suppose to. While mulling over all this, as time went on, little by little, I noticed that it was driving even stranger and it was starting to make a noise. I was concerned about the back tire that was in the area affected by the accident. I found a gas station and stopped to look at what was going on, but everything seemed fine and the tire wasn't flat and I kicked it and it didn't move.
I thought about turning around and heading back to the city, but I really wanted to get to the nursing school and so I continued thinking that it wasn't an immediate problem. I kept driving and around 40 minutes from the city, still another 25-ish minutes from the clinic, the was a definite noise that sounded like something was hitting something else, and it was getting louder and louder. I wanted to make it to the next gas station, which was less that 5 minutes up the road, but I became too scared to keep driving. I saw a place to pull off the road where there were other cars parking, and hoped it would be a safe place. Got out of the car, looked at the tire, it looked fine and I see nothing else that looked abnormal. So, not knowing what to do I called my supervisor, who suggested me calling somebody else to figure out the problem over the phone, but that person wasn't available.
At that point, there were tears shed. I was so overwhelmed at that point and now stuck in the middle of nowhere far from both the city and the clinic. Finally I got myself together and got out to jack up my car and see if I could find something wrong with the tire once it was lifted up. A security guard, the ones carrying around large riffles, was walking around. He didn't offer to help, but I was reassured of my safety with him standing nearby! Then his supervisor came by and actually offered to help. He finished getting the tire lifted off the ground and when he did, he touched the tire and it was extremely wobbly with every one of the lug nuts very loose. The tire was obviously not tightened on well when I left the shop the day before and then it was loosening up little by little as I was driving that day.
The whole situation gave me quite a scare, but thankfully I was safe, and the security guy not only tightened up the lug nuts on that tire, he checked the others to make sure they were safe. I drove off relieved that it was an easy fix, but by then I couldn't go to nursing school and had to turn around and drive home.
I still don't know what is happening with the remaining damage from my car that should have been repaired, but I think it will be fixed when I take it back in here in a few weeks.
Oh the confusion and frustration of dealing with all of this!!!
No fun, but I have realized a few things because of it! One, I'm so thankful for a car that is overall safe and in great condition, and I have not had to drive around with the stress of wondering whether or not I would be broken down on the side of the road. Two, I'm very dependent on my car for the ministries that I'm involved on here and being without a car is very difficult!!!
I have realized that in these past few weeks (over a month now), that it is easy to become independence and miss what God is doing in the moments when I have no choice except to be completely dependent on HIM! In those times these past few weeks, I've seen the generosity of others willingly come to my aid when needed, I've seen the Lord protect from what could have been a very dangerous accident, I've seen the Lord provide places to stop for problems with tires and strangers willingly to help while remaining completely safe and not in danger, and have had a car to borrow. I would be happy to never repeat a month like this past month, but I also wouldn't trade these moments of seeing God's protection and faithfulness for anything!