Wednesday, 5 August 2009

An Unforgettable Weekend

The weekend in question started on Saturday the18th of July which was the day of our annual fund raising gala in Windhoek. It was an event we had been looking forward to as it gave us a chance to spend some time away from CCF and dress up in cloths not covered in donkey blood. I went to a lot of effort to pick an outfit that would dazzle and amaze and I think in the end I looked pretty groovy with pin-stripe trousers, a smart white shirt, pink tie and a black vest. However, the element that really tied the outfit together was my super cool trilby hat, and although some people who have no sense of style took a dislike to it I believe the evidence speaks for itself, the hat rocked! Remember, my sense of style has been endorsed by a man who has met the Hoff!!!

It has to be said that everyone scrubbed up rather well, especially my fellow keeper Kate who looked fantastic, whaaaa whaaaa weeee wahhhh (I can say that as we are a couple if you hadn’t already worked that out!). The evening itself went well; the food was great a few drinks were had and a lot of smoozing was done. So the next morning started positively, myself and Kate had an AMAZING breakfast at the lodge we were staying at. As well as the normal breakfast stuff - eggs, bacon, sausages etc there was also chicken wings, meatballs and mushrooms in a cheesy sauce, everything on offer was mmmmm mmmmm! After brekkie we headed back to the posh hotel where the gala was held to finish cleaning up and we were soon packed up and ready to go. The car we were in, one of CCF’s Toyota Hilux’s was scheduled to be the first car back to CCF as we had no other errands to run, so we were eagerly joined by Ryan, Rob and Leigh. Kate was driving and normally I would have offered the front seat to Rob who has much longer legs than me but I had developed a headache and didn’t want to be crammed in the back, so I declined to offer – this act of uncharacteristic selfishness would actually turn out to be a good decision for Rob!

So we headed back towards Okahandja and were looking forward to getting back and having a relaxed Sunday afternoon. However, at just before 12pm something happened that I will remember for the rest of life and is the reason why I haven’t updated my blog in a long while. We were driving on the main road at 120kph and ahead of us we could see a car of to the side of the road moving slowly, as if he was picking up speed to pull out onto the road AFTER we had passed him. But no, as we approached him he violently pulled out into the road directly in front of us; Kate had no option but to swerve to avoid him, driving onto the other side of the road and it’s a good job she did because if we had hit him then I would not be talking to you right now. Kate then corrected the car but and at that speed it was inevitable that we would start to slide and slide we did. At this point many expletives could be heard from myself and my fellow passengers. The car slid completely around and we slid of the side of the road, for a split second I thought we would just slide to a halt however, the next thing I know there is a loud crash and I am upside down. The following seconds were the scariest of my life as the car continued to tumble for what seemed like an age. We actually tumbled 2 and a half times before a wire fence stopped us and brought us to a sudden halt upside down.

Immediately after the car stopped, hanging upside down by my seatbelt, I felt unbelievable relief that I was still breathing only to have it quickly wiped out by the concern for everyone else. At this point the car was filled with shouts of: ‘Are you ok?!’ and ‘I’m OK!”. Thankfully everyone responded and we then began evacuating ourselves from the car, which for myself and Kate meant crawling along the roof and into the back of the car as our windows had been significantly crushed. As we emerged we shared a few hugs and noticed that the canopy had come of the bakkie and had thrown all of our bags and stuff from the gala all over the place. By now several cars had stopped and we were being met by very worried people asking if we were ok. Two of them happened to be a Canadian couple who are paramedics who actually saw us go of the road and had rushed to us with first aid kits. They looked at us in stunned amazement that we had all survived with only bumps and minor cuts and scratches. Looking at the car we were also amazed, one thing’s for sure if we were not wearing our seatbelts we would have been done for so let that be a lesson to everyone, wear your seatbelt!!! The front of the car where I and Kate were sitting took the most beating and if Rob had been sitting where I had been he just may have come out of it a lot worse due to him being much taller.

The rest of our CCF convoy soon joined us and more hugs were shared, we then began the process of picking up all of our belongings and I soon found my bag and discovered that my camera and laptop had taken fatal hits, but I was strangely not bothered, probably due to the fact that I felt glad to be alive to realise they had been broken. However, my ipod survived intact! Those of your familiar with my fantastic music collection and my extensive playlists for any occasion will know what a blessing to the world that is :)

Soon an ambulance arrived. I had begun to notice that my head was really hurting and noticed a lump on the right side of my head (probably caused by bumping heads with Kate). My lump was not as bad as the humdinger Kate had though as she whacked it pretty good against the window as we started to roll. So Kate and I ended up in the back of the ambulance, my head pain was probably due to the headache I had before but I was sent just in case. We ended up at Okahandja hospital where we were reminded that we were in Africa and health care is not what we are used to! We were ‘assessed’ by a ‘doctor’ who was wearing jeans and a t-shirt and appeared not too pleased to be sent to see us. After hearing our story and taking our blood pressure we were handed……paracetamal! So after that expert assessment we were picked up and made our way back to Otjiwarongo where there was a much better Medi-Clinic that was covered by our medical insurance. There we were seen by a proper doctor, Kate was given a neck brace, Rob got his foot bandaged which was badly sprained and I at this point felt much better and was given the all clear. Needless to say we were all very glad to finally arrive home at Boskop where we were welcomed by very hungry dogs. The next day was spent recuperating at Boskop where the adrenaline rush I must have had after the crash had well and truly worn of and I woke up with aching limbs, a headache and the chills, which lasted all day. Rob’s foot was hurting a lot and Kate’s neck and shoulder was causing her pain. Ryan and Leigh meanwhile were suffering from similar ailments back at CCF and all of us shared the problem of repeating the incident in our heads over and over again. However, it’s been a couple of weeks since the accident and we are all on the up, I have actually caused myself more injury outside of a tumbling car. I pulled muscles in my shoulder and neck whilst simply turning over in bed and I then stabbed myself in the head with my Leatherman whilst fixing a fence. Whether the accident was partially to blame or it’s just because I’m a clumsy idiot I’ll leave it up to you to decide!

So in conclusion, the whole experience is one I hope never to have to go through again. However, it has put things in perspective and over the last two weeks the air has smelt sweeter, the African landscape has looked more beautiful and food has tasted that little bit better. Although I’m sure it won’t be too long before human nature takes over and I’ll think the world is coming to an end when its tuna for lunch and Liverpool loose their next match! But for now, it’s GREAT TO BE ALIVE!!!!!! :)