I heard the siren. We all did. And so necks craned and eyes strained through doors and windows to see the ambulance racing up the road to the hospital. Some speculated on what or who…but mostly we took note before returning to whatever held our attention just moments before. While not common, the blue lights of the white ambulance are far from unusual.

I forgot about it. Its significance undermined by my acquisition of Microsoft office – finally.


Talking with my friends at Starbucks, my impromptu Kpelle lesson was interrupted by Cecilia talking over my head to a distracted looking woman. Others chimed in and the woman began to run toward the hospital. Animated conversation continued with women weighing in(in rapid Liberian English or Kpelle) on something I had no comprehension of.

Finally there was lull enough for me to ask, for the umpteenth time, “what happened?”

“her son was the one hit by the UN truck. He is in critical condition,” she explained.

I was still confused, having been told the accident involved a motorcycle I was trying to piece it all together. “so the motorcycle hit the UN truck and the UN truck hit another car?” I asked.

“no,” Cecilia explained more patiently than she probably wanted. “the UN truck hit the boy on the motorcycle and then drove away. It was her son.”

Horrified, I repeated, “he drove away?”

Others chimed in that it wasn’t uncommon. And later we saw a UN police car leave the compound and then return. Cecilia was confident, “they are looking for the driver who fled,” she said.

The reality sobered my afternoon as I walked home, my thoughts scattered. Andn as I trudged home I saw a familiar face. The popcorn vendor with the son I call the Obama baby (he has Obama’s ears and a similar complacent expression). We greeted warmly, having not seen each other in the new year. And when I asked about Obama he pointed to the hospital. “he’s with his mother, her cousin was the man on the bike.”

All I could do was offer my condolences and ask after his relatives healing.

“he’s trying,” he said, “at least he is talking now.”

I don’t know how he fared tonight -if his talking was the beginning of recovery or a false sense of healing. I hope…as we all hope whenever we hear the sirens…that it looked worse than it is.

Tags: , , ,

2 Comments on Hit and run

  1. Kyla says:

    What happened to him? I can’t tell you how many times I argued with UN drivers to slow down and take it easy, and they always insisted they were being safe. What they meant was that if I was in the care with them, I shouldn’t worry. What I meant was that I was concerned about other cars and pedestrians. They never seemed to get it.

  2. Niambi says:

    Lately, I have been feeling a little bit like a victim of a hit and run. There are some people who entered and left my life very quickly. And I am getting up, a little dazed.

Leave a Reply