June 8, 2013
Could You Please Not Crush that Man?
After standing on a dark, fairly deserted road where none of the buses would stop to pick us up, I didn't think the evening could get much crazier. Ever drag a man out from under a bus tire?
It all started with a visit to a school that's a new place for us, about 10 kilometers away. The principal is a pastor who planted a church in this little community and is operating the small elementary school as an outreach to families in that area.
I thought I was going to observe and see how we might help this pastor, but after the first bit I was recruited to teach a music class. Each child was loaned a recorder (thankfully, similar to the flute I still tinker with) and I taught the 20 or so kindergartners to third graders how to play a few notes, as well as how to count beats, how to read a note, and how to use the recorder as an instrument rather than a weapon. The last lesson was a hard one.
Those two notes were--hmm, how can I say this?--a bit headache-inducing, but I guess for a totally off-the-cuff class, it was pretty miraculous that those kids left knowing how to play anything. I was pleased as punch, but you might not have noticed because my eyes were crossed walking out of that room.
Afterward, we had P.E. class on the soccer field with the 1st-6th graders and talked about the importance of taking care of our bodies. I mostly stretched and played cheerleader, as I'm not the best person to be kicking a ball around the field just yet.
The principal has been teaching these "extra" classes, as well as English, because there isn't enough in the budget to pay for many teachers. She holds weekly devotionals with the teachers, whose eyes are being opened to the Gospel through this time in the Word and the example of the principal. But this lady's plate is super full, and it was obvious that she struggled with discouragement.
We spent time after the 5 PM school day ended to pray with her, encourage her, and make plans for how we could help her. We decided on a once-per-week visit, when we'd teach those and a few more classes and get to know these teachers.
By the time we left, it was quite dark. We stood on the side of the road waiting for a bus to stop, but they just passed us by. About half an hour later, when I'd almost given up hope of getting home via bus, one stopped. The driver laughed when I told him of our plight, jumping up and down trying to flag down a bus.
The ride back was a strategic planning session, a bit louder than usual due to the roar of the engine. When we arrived at the terminal, I was feeling pretty zonked and looked forward to climbing into our car and soon into the shower.
I got off and walked behind the bus, planning to cross between the one I'd just gotten off and another one stopped right behind it to pick up passengers. Just then, the man beside me grabbed the handrail to climb into the second bus, and I stepped to the side to go around him. Then his hand slipped off the rail.
In about half a heartbeat, he was flat on his back with one foot on the sidewalk, the rest of him on the street right in front of the wheel of the bus. I heard the loudest CRACK when his head hit the pavement, and he was out like a light. I looked at the driver of the bus, expecting him to be running to this guy's aid, but he was actually putting the bus in gear.
"NOOOOOO! WAIT!" I yelled! The driver was talking with someone in the aisle behind him and didn't even see that there was a man a few inches from being crushed by his wheel. When he realized what I was yelling about, he and the other guy rolled their eyes and told me he was probably just a drunk, as they slowly made their way down the steps.
"Whatever," I said, "but the guy is unconscious on the highway and he fell when his hand slipped off the rail trying to get on your bus!" Ken and another man were hurriedly moving this still-unconscious man from the road when I noticed a small pool of blood where his head had been.
As his eyes started fluttering, everyone, including the police who'd just sauntered up, said, "Oh, he's fine. His eyes are opening." Well, yeah, he's not dead, I reckon, but--and here's where I got a bit loud--"he's bleeding from the back of his head and was out cold! He HAS to go to the hospital!" I kept repeating that every few seconds until an ambulance was called, and his eyes were still fluttering when they put him in the back of it.
In the end, I guess it was okay to be stuck on the side of a dark road wondering why the buses wouldn't stop for us if it meant I was in the right place at the right time to make that bus stop. All in His timing.