Monday, June 16, 2008
Ever hear about the hero who just happened to be at the right place at the right time to save a life and wonder what you would do in the same situation? Me too.
We were rushing to the South African border early yesterday morning before dawn when we came upon the scene.
You see accidents more often than not when you drive in Mozambique - the roads/drivers here are atrocious. But this was the first "fresh" accident with fatalities that I'd seen. No crowds had gathered around yet to start the cleanup process.
That sounds so dehumanizing. Someone's father/brother/son wasn't gonna make it home for father's day. Nothing trivial about that.
In the car on our side of the median, the driver appeared to be dead. A passenger lay on the sidewalk, his life ebbing away. Another passenger with a deep gouge in his foot hobbled around in a daze, muttering "I wasn't driving."
We stopped, and my husband and Dan (a videographer visiting with us for a couple of days) got out to see what they could do. I, I did the easy thing. I stayed in the car with the baby, rationalizing that it wasn't safe to leave her while the accident crowd gathered around.
There's no 911 to call in this country. In the end, all we really did was drive ahead to find the police, who we never did find, but we did locate TRAC guys (who maintain the toll road we were on) and ask them to contact the police. Then we proceeded on to the border.
I've had first aid/CPR training. There might have been something I could have done to help. But if I had to do it over again, I would make the same choice - to stay with the baby. Yet it's still eating at me that I did NOTHING.
Every day I face decisions where I put my child ahead of whatever other good deed I could be doing. This was just one of the more obvious ones. Why do I feel such a sense of being torn between the two?