A few weeks ago we had our first car accident here in Guatemala. We always wondered who would be the first one to get in an accident because the way people drive here is CRAZY so we knew it would happen eventually we just didn’t know who would be the first. Sadly, it was me (Missy) who had the “luck” of having our first accident. But before I go any further I want to point out that this was NOT the first time our car was damaged…Dylan has hit, sideswiped, and scratched our car several times while driving…just saying…lol When we first bought our car we commented on how the missionaries that sold it to us took “too good” care of it and the it looked “too nice” so we would have to beat it up a little so that people wouldn’t want to carjack us. Well I’d say it has definitely received it’s fair share of “beating up” now!!
For any of you who have been here you know that the driving here in Guatemala is crazy to say the least and the craziest of all are the buses that are used for mass transportation…referred to by all the locals as “chicken buses” because people are stuffed into them like chickens being transported on a truck. Well one of these buses came over into my lane a few weeks ago as I was driving and our vehicles collided. Immediately a man jumped off the bus (he was the assistant to the driver…the man who collects all the money and moves traffic out of the way when necessary) and started yelling at me telling me that I hit them. Thankfully, there was a police officer near by and he got us pulled over to the side of the road and got all of our insurance information. This was a blessing because most of the time the buses just take off because they don’t want to be held responsible for the accident. So after the bus dislodged his bumper from my car (literally pulling apart the back of our car as you can see above) we pulled over to the side of the road. I immediately called Dylan because of course he was not with me during this trip and I knew I was not dealing with angry bus driver men by myself. As I was on the phone with Dylan the assistant again came up to my window and was asking “What are we going to do? How are we going to fix this?” and saying “You hit us so what are you going to do about it?” I only put my window down a little bit because I’ve heard that most of the bus drivers and their assistants are very aggressive and related to gangs somehow and I was a little nervous of getting a gun pulled on me…once again I was SO grateful that the police officer was near by. I calmly explained to the man that the first thing I was going to do was wait for my husband to arrive so he can help with this matter. IMMEDIATELY the man settled down and said ok I’ll wait over there. What a reminder for me of what a blessing it is to have a husband in a society that struggles to respect women.
Once Dylan arrived (and the men saw my husband was no little wimp) the conversations took a completely different tone. Everyone called their insurance agencies and the bus driver even came over and started talking to Dylan about everyday life stuff. It was a great opportunity for us to just talk with them and try to show the love and mercy of Jesus even in a difficult situation. I felt really bad for the men on the bus regardless of how they initially treated me because all of this took about 2 hours and that’s 2 hours of money they lost. It broke my heart because I have been told that they are given a certain amount by the person who owns the bus that they have to earn every day and everything over that they get to keep but anything under that they have to pay. Thankfully, everything worked out and once the insurance adjusters showed up things went pretty quickly. We each agreed to pay for our own damage and I am SO thankful that we made the choice to have car insurance even though it’s not a law here to have it because if we would not have had insurance we never would have been able to get our car fixed.
We took it into the repair shop and they told us 10 days to fix it….well as you all know from past stories we’ve shared very few things here happen when people say they will. Sooooo 23 days later we finally got our car back!!
Because of the dangers of public transportation we are very limited in what we can use. Thankfully, we have team members who helped us by giving us rides or letting us borrow their cars when we absolutely had to do something and we live close enough to a grocery store that we could walk so we didn’t starve during what I now refer to as “our 23 days of captivity.” It was very tough not having a car for that long and there were a lot of things we had to cancel or reschedule but it also gave us a lot of time to get caught up on paperwork that had been piling up since our last team was here. God also used this whole experience to remind us of what a blessing AND necessity it is to have a working car to do ministry here.
We are thankful to have our car back and get back to our regular schedule or ministry. Please pray with us for protection every day as we’re out on the roads and that we do not have another accident for a VERY long time! Although, our car is looking a little nicer again so we might have to work on “banging it up” but just a little….hahahaha