MSABI car accident

Hi Dale here.  Recently I received an awful phone call in the middle of the night to say that our MSABI vehicle had been involved in an accident.  Luckily, our driver, Santiago, escaped a very serious accident relatively unharmed.  Unfortunately the vehicle was a write-off.  Below is a very interesting, detailed and colourful account of the incident from one of our staff members.  We have since managed to sell the wreck for TZS4.5million ($3000), which is not too bad considering we only paid TZS 8 million ($5300) for the car.  This accident is a timely reminder of the dangerous work environments that we operate in Tanzania.  Sadly these types of road accidents happen regularly.  The drivers at fault did not stop and hence we do not have any claim for recompense.  To rub salt into the wound the police made it clear they would take our driver to court for "trying to commit suicide" unless we paid them a TZS 200,000 ($150) release fee.

So now we have no vehicle for the project which makes it rather difficult to manage our expanding field activities.  We have purchased a new project motorbike which helps.  If and when we find funding for a new vehicle (of significant value) we will be sure to ensure it has full comprehensive insurance.

First I would like to express my sincere thanks to God for saving Selemani Kinana (MSABI driver a.ka. Santiago) in a dangerous accident occurred at Mikumi 300mtrs from a famous hotel in partnership between Tanzania and Swiss called Tanswiss. Santiago was in a normal average speed of 60-70 km/hr driving behind Big bus (Moro best that was heading to Morogoro, but in front there was a big truck coming where there was a Toyota land cruiser behind it. The land cruiser was trying to overtake the big truck but it hesitated after seeing a big bus coming, just after passing of the bus the land cruiser came direct to overtake the big truck without noticing the another land cruiser (MSABI car) was coming, then the driver had no alternative of going back to his position as long as his space was already occupied by a big truck and the front way Santiago was coming. Therefore Santiago had to drive in a reserved road trying to escape face-to-face hit with that land cruiser. But in the served road there was a big bump where the front right wheel hit and caused the car to slide and loose direction, that made it to go out of the road holding the same speed and the same level of the road where it hit the tree. Just after the car hitting the tree Santiago found himself out of the car and felt down heavily. Then the car felt down just near to him and overturned three times. Santiago lost memories from there and it took him a couple of minutes almost half an hour later to get memories back and found himself ok.

The first thing he called Hija, MSABI accountant, and he called his Dad. His Dad got some relatives living in Mikumi and notified them quickly to trace the place where the accident occurred. Hija notified other MSABI officials and employees to arrange for new transport to Mikumi to rescue Santiago and bring the car to Mikumi National park picking MSABI program Manager’s parents.

His relatives tried to get to the accident place early before gangster people arrived. Usually in Tanzania when the accident occurs and gangster gets earlier than the police or any good people then many things if not the whole vehicle will get stolen in just few minutes.

They took Santiago to the hospital (St. Kizito, Mikumi) and called a pickup to pull our car to police station but it failed and the back pumper of the pickup got off. His relatives arranged for getting fundi to make the car wheels move because it was totally impossible to move the car even one meter and organize a tractor to pull the car to police station. There was much higher risk driving the car to the police station because the road was much populated and busy with speed cars.

Santiago did not felt much pains soon after the accident but as time gets on pains increased on his right hand wrist and back of his head where he hit the ground after being thrown away by a car. The doctor examined him and took x rays of his wrist and the back of his head. To keep down the hard pains he had a doctor gave him christapen injection and vallium where he got a very deep sleep. Nik, Nik’s parents and Hija arrived at the St. Kizito hospital Mikumi later in afternoon and met antiago with a deep sleep where he failed to recognize us though I tried to call him with a nick name ‘ Shekh Kindasi’ and sense it with deep sleepy. Hija and his relative went back to the police post and negotiated to meet them the next day. Hija went to the hospital back and met Santiago ready get out from that deep sleep. He asked him what kind of food he would like to eat and mentioned wali nyama. I bought wali nyama and bring back to the hospital and stayed outside the patients rooms where he had his lunch/dinner because he hadn’t taken anything since morning. Hija stayed with Santiago at the hospital until 21hrs and left him resting.

The next day Hija went to St. Kizito hospital and saw Santiago doing more fine than yesterday and waited to the doctor’s visit. But due to power cuts problems the first head x ray didn’t appear good and suggested to take another one. In the afternoon the doctor passed on our bed and discharged him recommending that he is fine, it was just a shock and normal pains. He gave him paracetamol and vitamin B complex. Thereafter we gone to the cashier office and paid the bill.

Hija had a negotiations with the Police station Officer and Vehicle inspector general at Mikumi where they suggested that instead of filling a traffic case that could be much expensive and time consuming we pay 210,000/=. After a discussion with MSABI Administrator (Samson) and Drilling supervisor (Hashim) they suggested that we pay this sum and take our car to a safety place.