Saturday, July 23, 2011

Smunched Car

A knock at the door and Ronnie says, “Gabriel has been knocked, can you come now?” Flashbacks. I grab my bag leaving my phone behind and run out the door with my head swirling. I finally have the presence of mind to ask if Gabriel is okay. Ronnie thinks he is okay as he leads me on foot to the boda stand at the top of my hill on the main road (Entebbe Road).

A boda takes the two of us to the Kawuku police station where I see a plethora of what we could call totaled cars. This is Uganda where nothing works the same way so I say a quick prayer that none of the bodies are inside. They’re not. I look around for my car or something that used to resemble my car and find in a far away spot Gabriel and Eddie in conversation with a taxi driver. Relief washes over me.

I didn’t understand the whole story of what happened but the back driver’s quarter was demolished. The guard on the taxi was pushed in and the front body was crushed in a few places. No one was hurt. Then Frank showed up. I started feeling sorry for the taxi driver. Lobu had Eddie, Ronnie, Me, and Frank with him now and the Taxi driver was all alone. Frank knew lots of the officers and began chatting with them all, which lightened the mood considerably.

From what I understand there were two options. Take Gabriel to court or to come to some agreement outside court. Frank’s relationship with so many officers swayed the taxi driver, it seems. I put Frank’s number in my phone. They finally reached some agreement and no one needs to go to court.

Gabriel and I have had an ongoing debate about the value of insurance. He sees no value. Today he asked, “What are you thinking?” as I watched on fearing the inevitable day when I would be the one who smunches the car. My reply was simple, “insurance.” He grinned. Insurance options are minimal here. Insurance agents are corrupt so that deters people from carrying anything more than the minimum required (which is akin to our registration).

Fixing the car will take two days and considerably less money by U.S. standards – a byproduct of not having insurance companies drive prices up. Still, the sacrifice to pay for repairs is considerable. Sigh.