"i ain't gonna preach...i ain't gonna baptize. i'm gonna work in the fiel's, in the green fiel's, an' i'm gonna be near to folks. i ain't gonna try to teach em nothin. i'm gonna try to learn. gonna learn why the folks walks in the grass, gonna hear em talk, gonna hear em sing. gonna listen to kids eatin mush. gonna hear husban an wife a-poundin the mattress in the night. gonna eat with em an learn. gonna lay in the grass, open an honest with anybody that'll have me. gonna cuss an swear an hear the poetry of folks talkin. all that's holy, all that's what i didn' understan'. all them things is the good things."
- jim casey, the grapes of wrath
However "unorthodox" that quote may seem, it defines my life right now. That's all there is to this....just learning. Yes, I'm teaching English and "helping" people, but I am learning so much!
Sometimes I feel like superwoman....hence the picture....other days...like today....I feel helpess. Have a chuckle at the picture because that is the only laugh for this blog post as it is not so lighthearted. I did not plan to blog today....but sometimes....some things....they just need to be shared.
Today I was faced with a reality of life in Cambodia. One that thankfully until today I had been able to avoid. Today, I clearly understood the reasons why we are forbidden to ride motos....
The day started off just fine. Today my fellow Siem Reap volunteer, Autumn, and I were picked up by a Peace Corps car with our PC director and one of the Khmer drivers to travel to Kampang Cham province for a meeting....about 4 hours away. We originally were told to take a bus but it just so happened he had a meeting in our province so we could hitch a ride.
We were 30 minutes down the road and had just crossed into the next province when a moto sped onto the highway and right in front of our car. I knew what would happen before it did. Our driver laid on the horn and also the brakes but there just wasn't time. I wish I had closed my eyes, but I didn't. We smashed right into the back of the moto carrying three 20-something boys with no helmets. Their bodies whipped back and forth once before they flew off the moto, skidding along the road, and eventually tumbling down the dike next to us and into a pool of water.
Immediately there was a swarm of people crowding around the car and looking at the Americans that had just creamed these kids. Fortunately our driver took care of everything while we sat in the car and watched.....my breakfast in my throat. All the people saw it was the moto's fault...but of course that did not make us feel much better. The police came and measured skid marks and wrote reports and then made us go to the police station....only letting us leave after the Peace Corps in Phnom Penh called the provincial police who called the station and told them to let us leave. Thankfully the boys walked....or rather hobbled away....only to be put on another moto to go to the health clinic. If they had died....well...let's not think about that...because they didn't.
After leaving the police station we ended up on this "short cut" to Kampang Cham that led us down a horrible road full of pot holes and flooded roads. It was beautiful though....all rubber plantations. The beauty of what we saw around us was somewhat marred, however, by the horror of what had just happened. We were all releaved to see pavement and the city again several hours away.
Just another day in Cambodia I guess....moto accidents, detours, and bumpy roads. I hope this day is not repeated again soon.