Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Traffic Accident!

I was in a traffic accident last week, which, given the driving habits of Hondurans', should come as little surprise.  I would call it a motor-vehicle collision, but that's not exactly accurate, because one of the involved vehicles was horse and cart (see photos below).

I was travelling with other employees of ASONOG (Association of Non-Government Organizations) to the big city, San Pedro Sula.  I needed to open a bank account there in the local currency, Lempiras.  My colleagues were travelling to meetings in the hopes of forming more partnerships with development organizations in the region.  One that deals with human rights and agricultural business development, another that works in literacy programs for youth. 

Anyway... we were lost.  So, we waved down a taxi driver, told him the directions (there are few street signs or decent maps, so taxi drivers are invaluable sources of geographical information.  It's like Google Earth for dummies), and followed behind as best we could.  Along the way there were several U-turns, backing up in the middle of the street, and other completely normal and risky Honduran driving practices.  We were in the general vicinity, but still couldn't find the meeting place.  Logically, we asked a local, who was working on the street nearby.  Illogically (according to Canadian standards), we double parked beside the taxi to engage in this discussion of our whereabouts. 

Along comes the local garbage collection team.  A couple of 10 or 11 year old boys, whipping a skinny horse along the street, earning their keep picking up refuse from this very upscale residential neighbourhood.  They didn't bother to slow down.  I was thinking, "wow, these kids are so skilled, so confident."  Then...smash, into our truck that was parked (illogically) in the middle of the street. They tried to slip by, but at the last minute, made a rather unfortunate error in judgement.

It was really, really hard for me to keep the smirk off my face.  It was one big dose of Honduran awesome-wicked-sauce!    No one seemed mad.  No one bothered to take down any insurance information, those kids probably make $1, maybe $4 a day, and you can't squeeze blood out of a stone.  So, we stood around and looked at both vehicles for a couple minutes, and we all quietly went our separate ways.  Maybe the kid will slow down next time.  Maybe we won't park in the middle of the street.  Maybe nothing will change at all.

Discussions with the crash-ees.

Examining the cart.  Negligible damage.

Examining the truck.  Not-so-negligible damage.


  1. Great! A central American Motor and Horse-Vehicle-Incident! I don't get to see many of those!


  2. Oh my, that's a shame! But it was good that both of you were fine and that you had a "mutual agreement" over the matter. Lesson learned.