Jody's Peace Corps Experience

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Hazards of City Living

So I was on the jeepney on the way to work on Tuesday morning. Someone had thumped on the roof of the jeep to signify that they needed to get off. The driver obliged and pulled to the side of the road. As we were waiting for everyone to get off or settled into their seat, I heard the skid of tires and then what sounded as an animal making a horrible yelp. People in my jeep started to react and say "Oh my gosh!"

I turned to look out the window and I saw a big, yellow jeep slanted at an angle in the middle of the road. I still heard a whimpering and in the road, was a woman curled into a ball. I suddenly realized that she had been hit by the yellow jeep. From what I can piece together, the yellow jeep was going at a pretty high rate of speed as he was approaching my jeepney. When he saw that my jeep was not going to be moving by the time he reached us, he would just pass us as jeeps usually do. The old woman was somewhat hidden from the driver by our jeep and right at the last moment, the driver of the jeep saw her and was able to break enough to not kill the lady. Instead, he just knocked her over, bruised and disheveled.

All of the men in both jeeps rushed to her aid while the women sat and watched, almost in tears. I was almost ready to jump out of the jeepney and tell the men to stop trying to move the old woman, but someone hailed a taxi and the woman was able to get up and into the passenger's side seat. The driver of the yellow jeep got back into his jeep and drove away. I find myself wondering if anything will happen to the driver. Will he be reported? Will he even think about what he did? Will the incident affect the way he drives from now on? It's sad, but I think the answer is no to all of these questions.

Throughout the rest of the day on Tuesday, I also caught myself thinking about the old lady and how that could have been me. It could have been one of my friends or a member of my host family. It was a solemn reminder of how I really do need to be aware of the jeeps and other vehicles and not just think that they will see me and slow down if I've miscalculated how fast they are going. Yes, it was a sobering experience, but probably came at a time when I needed it most. I know I'm getting comfortable and that means I could be not as observant or not being as careful as I should. Too bad that the wake up call had to be at the expense of a little old lady crossing the street.