by Susan Akpan, MMM. Nigeria/Angola 01.04.2023
Life is often imbued with uncertainties and unanticipated problems. These problems sometimes reshape and/or empower us to take risks that we ordinarily wouldn’t conceive nor dare try.
Early November 2021, I was on my way back from a “Relief Mission” in the Torugbene community, Nigeria. I successfully crossed the river that bordered the community by boat and then proceeded to Bomadi. However, when I got to Bomadi, the journey took a different twist. I, unfortunately, boarded a vehicle whose driver was drunk without our (the passengers) knowledge.
Some minutes into the journey, every pothole became the best speed lane for the driver to unleash his James Bond prowess. The reckless driving kept all passengers awake and on their toes. While some complained, others shouted at him, but the driver paid deaf ears to all. The commotion and tension were suddenly relieved when the vehicle’s exhaust pipe pulled out and we had to stop. We all alighted from the vehicle. It was only then that we realized that the driver was drunk as a skunk. A stinging smell of alcohol was oozing out from him and he was staggering. At that point, nobody was ready to continue the journey with him. Every passenger demanded a refund of the fare but he claimed that he had submitted all the monies at the bus station.
We explored different options on how to make it to Ugheli. In the absence of any possible solution, a question arose: “who can drive?” The question was immediately answered with a deafening silence. We all stared at each other, but no response was heard from anybody. It was at this moment that some of the passengers turned to me and asked: “Sister, can you drive?” I responded, “Yes, but not manual”. A few days before I embarked on this journey, I had tried practicing driving a manual car but I was not so good. Probably, God was preparing me ahead of this situation. I got into the car, said a few prayers in my mind, and then started it.
When the vehicle was set in motion, I just uttered within me: “Wow, we are good to go”. The journey went on smoothly and we arrived safely in Ugheli. Surprisingly, we passed through several Police checkpoints but none of them stopped nor questioned us, despite all the loads packed in the car. I later stopped the vehicle before the bus station and handed it back to the driver while we all went our separate ways.
Though motivated by the situation, I remain grateful to God for the courage to take that enormous risk and for the safety granted to us.