Monday, June 8, 2009


It is a sad day here. Tragic, in fact. We walk around in a quiet daze. There is a feeling in the air, the feeling that comes when someone near dies. A long-awaited, much loved, painstakingly chosen and carefully guarded friend was taken out of commission today. She was always so good to us. The adults walk around subdued, taking care of business but not offering conversation. The children, having moved on to other thoughts hours later, fight and play by themselves. This is a day I won’t soon forget, though I walked through it almost as if in a dream due to a combination of the sadness and the cold medicine I took this morning.

Today our car fell down the mountain. In reality, we were very blessed through the tragedy. No one was in the car. Hours upon hours were spent in that car during the last weeks, but in this moment, no one was inside. No one was behind the car. There were no children playing in the path of destruction as the car fell. There were no people or cars passing on the road below as the car landed wheels up on the gravel road. It plunged alone to its “death”; it lay silent and upside-down on a silent road.

Yes, the car lay silent, but it was the noise of the fall that brought us running. It was the screams of Nick that relieved us. He’s alive. His appearance on the hill told us he hadn’t been in the car. The car lay silent far below, upside down, but our hearts were far from silent. Trembling, tears, prayers as the shock rolls over us. Should we be thankful or angry? Frustrated or relieved? The funnel of shock allowed me to experience many emotions all seemingly at once, but left me uncertain what to do with any of it.

So I stood. I stood on the edge of our property which is cut into the side of a mountain. Technically, it is a tall, steep hill, not a mountain, but that fact didn’t save our car. I stood in a hole from which a tree was just ripped. It was this tree I looked up to see flying from its spot at the first noise of the fall. The car’s path is obvious by the path of trees seized from their home. I stare at the half of the car I can see, two wheels high in the air. I hear our friends arrive from Casa de Esperanza, alerted by José. The leaders of the Casa provide practical and emotional help, and eventually the car is flipped on its side. Later, it is turned upright and pulled home.

As I finally walk down to see our friends and survey the damage, I am surprised. This car was more sturdy than I thought. Seriously damaged, yes. Off kilter, yes. But it might survive. It isn’t as smashed as it should be. Nick says it might be able to be fixed. Oh, Nick. I haven’t seen someone so sad in a long time. We still aren’t exactly sure what happened. The brake should have been on. Was it? I am so thankful he wasn’t in the car.

We arrived home only a day and a half ago. The car had been emptied, allowed to rest after safely taking us completely across Bolivia and back. My “healthy” fear of these roads and mountains is now raging.

“Need a ride?” No thanks, I’d rather walk.

1 comment:

Cassie said...

You are unbelievable. It took me two full paragraphs to understand that you were just being 'clever' and the death wasn't of a person, but of a machine. Seriously.