Friday, December 26, 2008

Trauma in Kenya - part II

Tuesday morning, I went with one of my colleagues to the police station. Good thing he knew which building to go to in the police compound as I never would have found it easily. It was a good sized piece of land with various sized buildings scattered around. There was even a man cutting hair behind one of the buildings. The building we went to was pretty small. It was crammed with 3 desks and a small bench - and several people. I waited outside as my colleague went it. They have a large ledger book with all of the reported accidents in it. At first, they couldn't find our record. Then we went in another room, then we went back to the first room, then we returned to the 2nd room. They finally found the record and I sat down on some old bus seats to give my statement of what happened. The first thing the police officer asked me was whose fault was it. I stated that the bicyclist ran into me. The bicyclist happened to be there and I think he was asked the same thing. He spoke in Kiswahili so I couldn't understand a thing. He did say 'indicator' a couple of times - I had not used my indicator as I wasn't turning!

Anyway, the police officer wrote down my statement in long hand on lined paper. Then he had me read it. I made him change probably 4 things that he had gotten wrong. Finally, I agreed that it was acceptable and signed it. (The other party in the accident didn't have to write down or sign any statement.) Then there was a bit of putzing around as they tried to find a police officer to accompany my car to the inspection yard. Since it was a car-pedestrian situation, this was a requirement. Finally, they just gave my colleague a signed bit of paper and he took it to the inspection yard.

So hopefully, this will be the end of it and no one will decide to sue us. We will ask the insurance company to reimburse us for the costs paid for the bicyclists hospital bills (about USD 50) and the money we gave him and his friend for bus fare.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Our Christmas letter

For those of you who may have not gotten it any other way (because we don't have your e-mail address), here is our Christmas letter:

Monday, December 22, 2008

Trauma in Kenya

Today Stephen used the car to run errands while I was at work so he came to pick me up at the usual time. He brought Lexi with him as he often does. She likes to ride in the car and it gives her a little outing. We were taking a colleague home so all 3 adults and 1 16-month old piled into the car. We were barely half a mile from the office when we had to stop behind a mutatu. When it started to pull forward, so did I and suddenly, a bicyclist crashed into the driver's side rear view mirror and hit the ground. We weren't going very fast and I immediately stopped. People started crowding round and the traffic backed up. The rule in Kenya for accidents is that you don't move the car - at all - from the scene of the accident. You stay put. Stephen got out to check on the bicyclist and I called the transport guy from the office who said he would come. The injured wasn't bleeding and I saw him lift his head so I knew he wasn't dead. People were clammering for us to take him to the hospital. We got in touch with the police and finally, the guy from the office came and took the injured to the hospital with Stephen accompanying him. Lexi, my colleague and I waited for the police.

Lexi was very good about the whole thing. Even when people were shouting at us to move the car. Then they started rocking the car and so my colleague only with a Kenya outside the car who had helped us contact the police decided that I had better move the car. That was scary. I don't understand why they were all so angry. They knew the rules as I did - you don't move the car until the police come. PERIOD. I called the police several times - they were caught in the traffic as well. They finally arrived - on foot. They certainly weren't in any hurry and didn't seem to have energy at all. We walked back to where the accident happened and I let the Kenyans helping us do the talking.

Finally, it was decided that we all go to the hospital to check on the injured man. Another of the work colleagues had come along so he took the police and we followed. I went a different way than they and arrived at the hospital before they did. This hospital was right down the street from our house so Stephen took Lexi home. At the hospital, we had to wait for the police - they had stopped to investigate another accident. This was after it took them over an hour to come to our accident scene. The injured man is fine - nothing broken, nothing dislocated. Just some bruises and pain which he got some medicine for. We paid for his hospital costs and gave him money for bus fare - too much money, I am pretty sure. The police wanted to take the car as it was involved in an accident with a pedestrian. My colleagues argued them out of that and we agreed that I would go to the police station to make the report at 11 tomorrow morning.

Of course, the thought goes through our heads that this injured person will try and sue us even though it was his fault. We don't really trust the police either. I do know that LWF has been involved in court cases before over this sort of thing. LWF is the one with the insurance (which covers any one driving). If the company gets sued there is nothing I can do about it. I hope it doesn't happen though. It doesn't seem fair - but I think it has a lot to do with the color of my skin.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

O, star of wonder...

This was the scene from our front porch last night just after sunset - a crescent moon with Venus (the brighter of the two stars) and Jupiter - to usher in Advent.