Here I was, sitting in this tiny old Portuguese-style block-house, converted into a courtroom, thinking if it wasn’t so serious it would be hilarious…..
The robed judge with stern face, squeezed in between two community “aids”, coughing, sniffing, snorting and dictating the grave circumstances twice to the “court scribe” in two to three words, dragging the whole affair out to hours instead of minutes. (She was a real Scribe in the sense that she had to write out the whole thing by hand!!) It was hard to follow and really totally ridiculous, but the fact that we are foreigners in a foreign country, with foreign laws were very real. And very scary. How on earth did we get here? Talk about losing all rights…
Late one night my husband came home from taking visitors to another area of work. A drunken man has passed out in the middle of the narrow and very dark road and was further camouflaged by his dark and dirty clothes. Although A swerved out, he drove over his outstretched arm. He stopped and with help, picked up the guy – totally drunk – and took him to the hospital. Broken arm only. They had to transfer him to the bigger hospital to set the arm but on the way there, he passed away. From what, was never clear. Definitely not from his arm, but what can you do out here in the bush. A was charged with his death and had to go to court. The law in this country, is that you as the driver, are guilty if someone dies after a road accident, no matter what they did. The driver is always guilty. They just decide how much guilt you have and fine you accordingly….
But this really is not what I want to talk about. At the end of the “trial” of half-truths, misunderstandings, and blatant lies. the judge asked my husband what he had to say about all this and it broke my heart. This is what he said: “God called us here to teach the Y people His Word. We have come to serve the Y. We have learned Portuguese and now Y. We have come to love the Y people. I feel very sorry for the family of this man and very sorry that this had happened.”
And him standing so humbly in front of this man with “power” and he chose to start with God and obedience to Him. Bless him for that.
The outcome was the minimum sentence, which was a miracle, because each court district benefits directly from the fines….so we thank God. And may we start and end always with Him.