Monday, February 17, 2014
I SHOULD NOT BE ALIVE!
By Namakando Nalikando-Sinyama I have been traversing the Southern route back and forth using MazhanduFamily Bus Service since January of 2008. Having been such a regular patron of this bus, there has been certain ‘benefits’ or privileges that accrue like having preferred seats reserved for me well in advance. I have always been offered the front roll seats when I travel. I have often joked that if the distance I have covered to date on this bus were to be stretched, it might easily run from Cape to Cairo! On this fateful dayof 05/10/2012,keeping true to this tradition, I was given seat No. 2 which is right behind the driver’s seat. All seemed well and relatively uneventful after we started off from Livingstone at about 09:00hrs until at around 10:25 or so at a point 10 to 15 km before Choma, when our bus had a front tyre bust while moving at speed and careered off the road. This sent it hurtling into the nearby bushes where we yet again had a second tyre bust from hitting into tree stumps and a living tree, effectively uprooting it in the process until we came to a traumatizing stop some 100 meters away from the first tyre bust. It is worth mentioning that throughout this ordeal, our gallant driver, though having passed the regulation speed, telling from the breaking distance of our bus, he had his hands firmly on the steering until he brought the bus to a stop. We all know that stories abound where drivers have been known to jump out through the window or in a feat of sudden panic they apply emergency breaks which if it had been done we would certainly have flipped over making fatalities all the more likely. Judging from the bus wreckage,a number of people must have been badly hurt and indeed they were.Some people I sat next to sustained broken limbs and very deep cuts. In the thick of things, due to her instinctive infinite maternal ‘wisdom’, there was a lady who decided to toss her young infant through the back windowof this wildly speeding bus. This infant may have landed head first on the hard ground because she had a soiled head when we later met up with them at Choma General Hospital where we had gone to have our vitals checked and shots of Tetanus injection administered due to the threat of our wounds becoming septic. This poor baby’s neck or spine would have instantly snapped on impact. As to whether or not this was a right decision by her mother, may not be for me to say as I never experienced pangs of labour! Granted that in instances such as these rationality is thrown out of the window, literally! There were people who got badly injured and some could have so easily died, so you will not catch me dead leaping to thanking god that my life was spared and because I escaped with merely superficial bruises on the body, aching spinal column and a severely sore left Gluteus maximus,my head was left in a dazed state from the post-traumatic stress which might explain why moments after the accident I just stood there in a transfixed pose,I am having pieces of glass debris still imbedded into my skin. The only visible reminders of this incident on my person is, that despite the famed hardness of a cotton fabric that denim is, its structural integrity was breached as a hole was made in it near a very delicate part of my body.If only whatever made this impression had moved upwards by a few inches, I would have kissed my procreative ability good bye! There is a deep lesion in my left breast made by some sharp object. If the object had moved just slightly to the left I would have lost a nipple! My lower back is experiencing some dull but telling pain as I cannot seem to support the bulk of my frame as well as I used to. I now have to walk gingerly with a slight noticeable limp. I do not intend to trigger any religious debate but I happen not to subscribe to the common notion of there being a Celestial Ledger where world events are neatly choreographedor orchestrated by the powers that be and where it was ordained that on a specific day this lady who sat next to me was to break her leg in two points!The same way I find it rather utterly inconsiderate of people who escape death in an accident where others have died but they thank God they did not die themselves. This, of course, is notwithstanding the ecclesiastical proclamation of there being time for dying and time for laughing etc. What is fact though is thataccidents do happen and always will to one and all.Some people die and some people survive, some people end up with severed limbs and others come out of accidents unscathed, others are maimed forever others end up only with a mere headache and a version of events to narrate. It is quite implausible that a whole bus could have been filled up with very special people who god wanted to save on this day for some later assignment and higher purpose in life. Whether there is some yet unknown reason why we did not die and others have died gruesomely before is not an area am prepared to delve into just yet as am still recuperating to entertain philosophicalred herrings. Look,going by The Law of a Probable Outcome, the very frequency with which I have travelled that route just rendered me prone to any of such freakish accidents. A number of conditions conspired to make this bizarre event possible. In my opinion, the driver may have over sped well over 140 Km/h,owing to the extreme mid-day temperatures and the possibility of the bus being in a semi-state of neglect, that is,tyres not having been checked or replaced with more road worthy ones made them fail to hold their own against the full brunt of the mid-morning sweltering heat coupled with the traction frictional heat. Sadly, not even Thegod Vulcan could protect us as the tyres gave in to the massive heat generated from the tarmacadamised road surface. After having said all this, what remains to be said is that despite all the whys and wherefores, I have yet again Lived To Die Another Day!