Tuesday, 16 August 2005

Humanity's Inhumanity To Others

Chief was in a car crash recently, a bad one. An imbecile truck driver decided to pull out of a side road at top speed, complete with gigantic trailer, so that he took up the entire highway. In the space of seconds Chief had nowhere to go but smack bang into the truck.

Chief is lucky lucky lucky to be alive. Streaming blood, he crawled out of the wreckage, to find a gaggle of people staring at him. He refused to go to hospital immediately, as he (probably rightly) believed that if he left the scene the truck driver would immediately move our vehicle, destroy any evidence, and buy off any witnesses. He wanted to make a statement to the police first.

In the space of an hour he made several anxious calls to a police station nearby. No police officers came. Finally one of the bystanders offered to go in a taxi and fetch the police. Chief gave the guy some money for the return taxi journey. The man ran off with the money and was never seen again. Luckily a passing man stopped – this now almost two hours after the accident – and tried to take Chief to the hospital, but again Chief asked for the police. The man managed to get the police to come. Having filed their report the police then wandered off, leaving the bleeding man to his own devices.

Chief began to try and hitch-hike into town. Despite the evidence of the crash and the obviously distressed state of Chief, nobody stopped. The passing traffic carried on, ignoring the problem. Another hour later, one more kind person finally pulled over. They took Chief to the hospital. At this point Chief could not walk, from blood loss and shock. When they carried him into the hospital they refused to treat him until he had paid some money upfront. When they were finished examining him they sent him to the government pharmacy within the hospital. The shelves were bare. He had to pay for his medicine in a private pharmacy.

The truck driver never even bothered to report to the owner of the haulage company that he had almost killed someone. Our project vehicle is a write-off. The lack of a project vehicle means we are seriously limited on what outreach work we can do at the moment. I hope nothing bad ever happens to me in Zambia, because I sure as hell wouldn't want to be depending on the majority of its citizens to help me.