There aren’t really many cultural challenges when it comes to living in Barrouaille, but one has brought more stress and grief to me than ten normal ones combined…and that’s driving.
The fact that roads on the island about comparable to about one lane in US highways is cause for concern. But the real challenge comes when you meet someone coming towards you on a smaller road and there isn’t enough room to pass. At this point one of the vehicles has to reverse either down the road, or to an area where they can pull over.
At this point I’m pretty good if you call driving like your ninety-year old grandmother good. However my reversing skills needs lots of work (didn’t use them much in the States) so meeting another vehicle is a totally different story. I’ve done it before (twice last Sunday) but still need people in the vehicle to help with navigation.
The worst part about backing down or up a road is it reveals for the world to see my poor driving skills. You may as well put a huge sticker on the van reading “worlds worst driver.”
And that’s where my anger comes in
I drove myself and a church member to get groceries this afternoon and while we were there he happened to recognize a cousin who just finished shopping, so we offered to give him a ride home after purchasing groceries.
Everything was fine till we headed up to his house which happened to be on one of the smaller roads. As we drove up my stress level was already kind of high expecting some vehicle to come around every corner, but we made it to his street safety. I was getting ready to put the van in park when the Church member said “no we have to back ourselves up this road.”
Suddenly my stress level went through the roof 🙂
After backing up, going forward, and turning again roughly fifty times (making myself look like the worlds worst driver) I finally turned to the Church member and in anger said “okay that’s it you drive!”
I immediately apologized for getting so upset and we eventually got up the street. What really bothered me though was this wasn’t the first time my emotions had gotten away from me while driving.
They say that stress has a way of revealing what a person’s really like. Driving in Vincy (particularly when going backwards on small roads) reveals a lot about me..and to be honest I don’t like that person.
He gets emotional instead of thinking about things rationally
Embarrassment or humiliation is the worst thing in the world for him
And he gets angry very easily
The thing is that angry individual who hates to be embarrassed has always been there even in the calmest situations, you just don’t see him until the stress level is heightened.
So though it pains me to say it..I’m thankful for the small roads of Barrouaille. Because it reveals the part of me I try desperately to hide so that everyone can see it. And the emphasis is on changing the unbiblical responses to embarrassment instead of hiding those responses.
I’ll get the hang of backing up Vincy roads (eventually) but pray that they will still give a heightened stress level, because it allows other to see the kind of person I really am.