It happened in an instant.
I saw a face. A motorbike.
Then I heard the awful sound of vehicle hitting vehicle.
And then a thud.
Then, I felt our SUV roll over something.
Oh. My. God.
I screamed. Put my hand over my mouth, which was agape. Anna grabbed my hand.
We had hit someone. Rolled over their motorbike.
The moments before flashed in my mind.
Looking out the window … looking straight ahead … two kids on a motorbike, rounding a turn from the left and down our one-way road … into our SUV.
“Where’s William? Where’s the other car?” Anna asked as a crowd of people quickly encased our ride. Instinctively, I locked the doors.
I didn’t want to get out. I didn’t want to see what twisted, mangled mess was beneath the wheels of the four-wheel-drive which had been carting us around for four days. It had sounded so awful. I couldn’t imagine the carnage, the wreck, anything.
Seconds passed like minutes as our driver exited the vehicle and stepped outside and into the crowd, surveying the scene.
A teenager emerged from the side of the SUV, finger clearly broken but nothing more. I never saw the other person, but was told he walked away from the crash. Moments later, the two blended into and disappeared into the crowd. Had they stayed, they faced trouble — they were on the wrong side of the road.
The crowd did not leave. They swelled outside our car as we sat inside … waiting for William to come and translate and tell us what was going on.
Finally, the other SUV pulled up. They had gone the non-scenic route to the hotel.
“It’s all OK,” he said, calming us in the backseat. “They are exchanging insurance. It’s fine.”
Relief swept over me and I stepped out of the SUV to see the damage for myself.
Those kids were lucky to be alive, let alone escape nearly unscathed.
There was an enormous dent in the side of the gold SUV, and the bumper was slightly torn up.
Soon, the crowd had all bit dispersed, save for the few men who helped move the mess out of the street.
William went back to his SUV and we began to back up. The men who helped moved the bike tried to block us.
What the hell?
The driver’s window was down, and quickly, they were grabbing onto the door, sticking their heads in the window, voices raised, hands outstretched.
We backed up to go around the other side of the road.
They followed, holding strong to the vehicle.
Our driver, bless him, finally reached into his wallet and pulled out some money and handed it them.
The men still crowded us, but this time, our SUV accelerated, leaving the men and the moment behind us as we moved on to the Stipp Hotel to recover from our gorilla trek earlier that day.
Disclosure: Rwanda Development Board covered meals, lodging and activities.