I was driving home from Massangulo this afternoon after a wonderful weekend hanging out with the Falconers. It was quite a peaceful drive – the kids were travelling in a different car 5 minutes behind us with Cam so I just got to chat to Laura and a lady who was getting a ride back to town. About a third of the way in to the trip I was passing through the middle of a small village. I saw some baby goats on the left hand side of the road up ahead. Just as I got near, they started making a dash across the road in front of me so I veered a little to the right . As I did that, I heard an almighty thump and remember thinking that I must have hit another goat – one that I hadn’t seen!
If only it was just that! The next thing I knew something smashed into the side of the car, we tipped on a bit of an angle and had to very quickly come to a stop on the side of the road. It wasn’t particularly scary, I didn’t lose control and for a split second, I figured rather than hitting a goat, I’d completely blown out a tyre. Until I saw my wheel… the whole thing – tyre and rim whiz out from the left hand front side of the car and start hurtling into the village. It went off on a diagonal and kept bouncing and rolling at an incredible rate until finally, it smashed into a house.
I sat there horrified… watching the whole thing in slow motion, a strange mix of disbelief and terror washing over me. Thank God there wasn’t a soul on that side of the road. I saw the wheel hit the house and bounce back off but I couldn’t see where it went after that and I didn’t know whether there was anyone inside the house. I stopped the car and jumped out and joined a whole bunch of people who had appeared out of nowhere running after the wheel.
I arrived at the damaged house to be greeted by the owner’s brother who asked me (in perfect English) “Are you ok?” Classic – I was fine – just terrified that I might have killed someone inside the house. There were two people inside at the time it hit – one just sitting in the doorway at the back and one in the front room but thankfully no one was in the line of fire of all of the bricks that splattered right across to the other side of the house.
This is taken standing just in front of my 3 wheeled car – I reckon I stopped about 40m further on from where the wheel fell off. If you look way in the distance there to that last house on the left and then look really closely at the back of the wall – that’s where the wheel hit, it probably travelled 200m or so. It just looks like a window, but it wasn’t there before I came past.
This very kind man (the brother of the owner of the house) ran off to fetch my wheel out of his garden where it had landed and took it back to the car for me.
He looks super pissed right – but that’s totally normal for Mozambicans getting their photos taken. He was actually very sweet – a little concerned about who was going to sort out the damage to the house but after I assured him we’d take care of it, he was great.
After Cam arrived to try and sort out the wheel issue I wandered back over to the house to check out the damage a bit more closely. Using my amazing Chiyawo skills I joked about how nice it was that I’d made them a new window – not too sure what they thought of that?
The house was a mess inside – there were bricks everywhere! So glad there was no one in that room there. The bricks flew all the way into the bedroom!
The other scary part – those stools were there for a reason. Clearly there had been some people hanging out in the shade, escaping the hot afternoon sun. I’m so relieved that they’d moved on before I arrived.
There were a bunch of people trying to help Cam out – people went out looking for the nuts. Five of them had fallen off less than 100m away – bit strange.
One of Cam’s latest mottos is “Never leave home without your toolbox” – so that came in handy again. He tried for an hour or so to fix it but then decided he didn’t quite have enough parts so had to wait for Scott to come and bring a few extras (and some expertise) and they soon managed to get another wheel back on.
We drew quite a crowd – it was by far the most exciting thing happening in the village that afternoon.
In the end we made it home safely. There’s a bit of damage to the car where it smashed down onto the road and then when the wheel bounced up and scraped down the side but nothing major. The most important part though was that no one was hurt… it could have been disastrous.