Last time around we mentioned that we are starting to feel a bit settled here in Kupang. However, usually when we express these thoughts, something will happen to remind us that here you have to expect the unexpected, that life will never be boring or mundane here. As mentioned before, we have bought a car. We have felt that we have gotten used to the way of driving here…well mostly.
Wednesday this last week I was driving to the school to collect Erik. In previous posts we have also mentioned about bemos. These are the minibuses that drive around quite fast and crazily around the city, whilst playing loud music etc. Well, just a few hundred metres from the school one of these bemos crashed into our car, at quite high-speed (the police estimated that he was probably doing 80 km/h, which is extremely fast for that road).
I was completely unhurt, not a scratch, but I was aware that the driver and in particular passengers of the bemo could have been hurt. There were children on the bemo, and no seatbelts are found on the bemos here. I went over to them, and the children were shaken up, but not seriously hurt. The driver seemed slightly injured. At this point came what seemed like around 100 people (I exaggerate not) from all over, to look at the accident scene, and in particular take photos of me with their mobiles. I didn`t like this as it was an extremely stressful situation for me. I then had to go to the school to pick up Erik, but returned as soon as possible. Shortly afterwards the police arrived, and in the meantime the bemo driver had disappeared.
After some time, Erik and I were taken to the traffic police station, and a policeman drove our car there too. We were there for some hours, but were treated okay. Erik was given some food and a drink, and some of our friends took him home later on. Whilst there, I was asked many times to give my version of events which I did. After a long time the bemo driver showed up, followed a little later by the bemo owner, who happened to be a policeman. Some of our friends were also there who translated for me, which was greatly appreciated. The conclusion by the police was…well, different to what would have been concluded in Norway, or the UK. I cannot go into details here, but let`s just say that we were very surprised and very disappointed at the outcome.
There were some surreal moments there…one of the policemen could speak a bit of english. Completely out of the blue he asked me what type of music I liked. There were also moments that could only be described as God working. After a while a higher ranking policeman came in who also spoke a bit of english. He found it very funny that I had sold my house and all in Norway to come to Kupang, that I was now unemployed, and just here as a tourist. He asked me why, so I told him that God had led us here. He asked how had God spoken to us, so I started to tell him what had happened with that.
Later on the policeman who asked about music told me and my friend that he hated his father, and prayed for him to die, even though he had earlier said that he was a christian, and attended church regularly. We then went on to talk with him about forgiveness and loving your enemies, and how we will know freedom through Jesus in doing that. He then said that yes, his heart was locked up in a prison. Quite amazing how God can use any circumstance to share about Jesus and His love.
So, after picking up the car in the evening…the next day the car was taken to a workshop. We are now without a car, but in a few days we get it back. It was not a very nice thing to experience (my first ever crash of any kind), but even on a black day like that, God still shone His light and it was a privilege to see Him at work.