Today has for sure been quite a filled and adventuresome day. It has also been a good day for learning and lessons!
After a long morning and early afternoon, working with some official people in a process for helping AboGua forward, I, Jesse Rivers, was driving with my assistant, Yesenia, and her assistant, Estefany (16 years old), in Abogar’s Honda CRV; Big Red. As we came upon a corner, a bus to my right was coming way too close and I knew, because it is very common here in Guatemala, that he was not worried about hitting me, because his vehicle was bigger and he just figured he could have both lanes. I laid on my horn to warn him that he was too close, and then… BANG!!
Yes, that’s right, Big Red was, yet again, hit by another vehicle! It happened right in front of the transit police, and the bus pulled over and I pulled over in front of him. Praise God that the impact was not too severe, and nobody was hurt! Seeing a look of accusation on the face of the bus driver, I quickly jumped out of Big Red, approached the police officer, and explained that just because the bus is bigger does not give the driver the right to hit a vehicle already in the other lane. The officer was in full agreement. Praise God! (Sometimes police here are very corrupt and expect a bribe to be ‘just and fair’.) I then spoke with the driver and demanded that he pay for the damage to my bumper and front end, before returning to Big Red to sit with and comfort Yesenia and Estefany, as we waited for the police to develop the case.
As I sat in my seat, young Estefany asked if she could give me a piece of advice. I am one who likes to learn, and I know that it’s her culture here, so I said, “Sure!” Estefany then told me that, though I had a right to be reimbursed for damages and for the driver to have to pay the consequences, it would be certain that he would be fired. There is very little opportunity for good employment here in Guatemala, and my demanding, though justly, for him to pay for the damages would require a report to be filled with his employer and the transit police, which could surely hurt him (and any family he might have) way more than the slight damage and scratches on Big Red.
I was immediately humbled, and I rushed from the vehicle back to the officer. I asked for my license and registration back, and told him that I was removing my complaint/case. The officer was with another officer, and they looked at me in disbelief, because the evidence was completely on my side, but then each smiled and nodded, knowingly. I then asked the bus driver to please be more careful and drive with respect for others on the road. He was relieved as I walked away.
As I walked back toward Big Red I found myself incredibly impressed with the maturity that Estefany showed. First, respectfully, she asked if she could give me advice. Then, after I had confirmed that she could, she spoke on behalf of the person who was at fault to help me understand his situation. Thirdly, she was very humble and simple in her advice, without any air of arrogance or of knowing-it-all. Though I am here in Guatemala to help teach and grow ministry to and for the young, I also find myself often learning from the young! While today’s accident brought about a great example, this is not the only time I have been learning from the young. However, I do want to share with you today’s events, because I hope it helps humble me and others to remember that God even uses the young to teach us. While I will keep teaching and ministering to the young here, I hope that I will always be a posture of willingness to learn from the young as well!