We happily delivered pencils, erasers, construction paper, vitamns, ribbon for the girls hair, marbels for the boys and cool weather clothing. Because of it's altitude Santa Elena is cool and in the evening it is actually cold. No need for a fan or air-conditioning there.
On our way down the mountain, we lost the brakes on the truck. I was sitting in the cab with the driver, Adrian. There were 8 others in the back of the pick-up, riding Dominican style. We came around a corner a bit too fast and I knew by Adrian's frantic look that we had no brakes. As we rounded the corner I saw the road ahead going straight down. Thankfully, Adrian knew immediately he had to try to stop the truck before we gained more speed. He turned the wheel into the mountain and I began to pray. I saw the rain washed "gutter" and as the driver's side tires went into the gutter I heard screams....then a flip....roll....slide.....and silence.......Then Adrian screaming for Yanet his cousin who had been riding in the back of the truck. As I continue to pray Adrian scrambles out the window. I was very calm, preparing myself for what I might find once I leave the cab. Suddenly I hear one of my friends say "we have to get the truck off of Scott....we have to get the truck off Scott!" Next I hear myself yelling "my husband, my husband, I have to help my husband!"
I scramble out the broken window and see the edge of the truck bed on my husbands head with his body still in the truck bed and lots and lots of blood. Instinct tells me I can't help with my arms, they are too weak.......But God gave me legs as strong as tree trunks. So I lay on my back and get my feet under the edge of the truck as Scott yells, "it's crushing my head - get it off quick, it's crushing my head!" I start pushing with both legs with all my might as we lift the truck enough for him to crawl out. I am afraid at what I might see once he is free. He is bleeding from the nose as he was face down on the ground with the truck on the back of his head. I look at his head, lots of blood, but a small wound. Scott is okay.
Everything seems in slow motion....Adrain checks his cell phone, sees he has no service and immediately starts walking down the mountain. In a moment a see a motorcycle and Adrian jumping on it. Thank God there is a police check station at the bottom of the mountain. Adrian will be able to call for help soon. Everyone seems in shock. Yanet is laying on the ground. She is not moving, I go to her, she can't talk, I ask where it hurts, she touches her chest, I fear internal damage. We pray together. The guys are now worried because the truck is leaking fluids, both propane and gasoline. We decide we have to take the risk and move Yanet away from the truck. As we lay her back down I see the injury. There's an entry wound on her upper hip, I see deep in the flesh. We pray again. She says, rapido, rapido. She also knows she is badly injured.
As scared as I am for Yanet I am calm, I am thankful we are all alive. There are road rashes, bumps and bruises, but there is not even one broken finger! In a few moments I see Pedro's brand new white Ford Explorer coming up the mountain. And he is moving! Pedro is Yanet's brother-in-law, our friend and the owner of the Texaco gas station in Barahona. We load Scott, Yanet and my friend Kelly all bleeding into the light beige interior. Yanet says "rapido" again.
The rest of us try to be useful by cleaning each other and comforting each other as we wait. The guys examine the truck, roll it back over and access the damage. It's toast, but they will save the engine and tires. It is already decided. Life goes on.................... I
t seems just a few minutes and I see Pedro's Explorer again. We are loaded in and taken to a small, private clinic. I call Franklin to translate for me. When we arrive the clinic is already full of family and friends from Habanero. In an accident like this, they would expect someone to die. In the 7 years since I've worked there I've known five people that have died in our little village. Family and friends are all praising God that we are all alive. Gloria Dios is the chant!
We are all in the emergency room together, there are no HIPPA laws in the DR. Scott is ok just a few stitches, Kelly is okay, road rash and stitches in his head also. Lucia has a whiplash, Luis has a backlash. Miraculously Gary, Jake, Timo, Adrian and myself are almost untouched. I look at Yanet's x-ray.......another miracle........lots of trauma to the chest and even though a long piece of glass was injected into her, the glass has missed all her organs and her spine. The piece of glass broke into three pieces and I can see them clearly on the x-ray. I watch as the doctor begins to remove the glass. He tells me Yanet will be all right.
As each person is bandaged I put them in a car headed for Habanero so they can rest. I stay at the clinic with Yanet. She will be staying for a few days as will Lucia for observation. As the clinic quiets down I begin my prayers of thankfulness. Once the girls are settled in their rooms Germo says now it's time for me to rest and he will take me home.
In the privacy of the car I begin to cry. I've held it all together but now the tears flow. Germo asks why I'm crying and I say "I'm not going to Santa Elena again, it's too dangerous." His reply not only surprises me but uplifts me. Germo says "Don't say that Brenda. Your were doing God's work in Santa Elena and Satan wasn't too happy about it. If you don't go back to Santa Elena then Satan wins. But if you go back then God will be victorious!" And that is the moment I started planning my next trip to Santa Elena.
We survived for a reason, becasue God has a plan for us. Just one week before our accident a man was coming down that same mountain, he was alone in a pick up truck, he lost his brakes and he lost his life that day. It could have been us, but it wasn't........Life goes on..................I'm looking forward to what God has planned for us! We return to the Dominican in June.