What a day I had yesterday! I returned to work after a month off, Daryl fired the Haus Meri (yes that’s right! Woo hoo!!!!) and on my way back from work I watched an armed carjacking unfold. To say I was shaken is an understatement. The feeling of powerlessness and anger as a result of watching and speeding off is overwhelming even though I did everything I have been told to do! All I’ve done is play the scenario over and over for the last 24 hours wondering what could have been if this or that was to have happened. I have decided that writing this blog is going to be some sort of therapy whereby I can write it all out and release it… so to speak.
Since March this year, the main freeway (the Poreporeina) has been getting some major road works done. Part of the road collapsed where a stream that turns into a river in heavy rain goes under. There was torrential rain (not uncommon in the tropics) and the stream rose and essentially took half of the road with it. They have been working on it ever since. First they closed the whole road down causing absolute chaos on the roads around PM but then about a week later they opened one side.
The Poreporeina is a double lane freeway with both directions separated by a wide median strip with trees spaced every few meters and surrounded by concrete walls acting as large flower pots in the middle.
So ensure that cars can go both ways, they have concreted over part of the median strip to essentially make a driveway for cars to cross over, avoid the road works on one side and then cross back over again.
I have drawn a diagram for you which will hopefully help you to picture it a bit better:
Just a little note, the position of my car is where I was when the carjackers stopped their car (so when the actual carjacking started). By the time I was next to them, they were pulling out the gun.
How it panned out…
I was coming home around 12.30pm from the Australian High Commission Medical Clinic which is located on the airport side of the road works so I was heading towards Konedobu. As I was approaching the road works, I noticed a car on the other side just suddenly stop. Out loud, I said frustratedly, ‘What the hell is that person doing?’ As I said this, I was still moving slowly and saw 4 guys get out of the car with gangster-like attitude. The car immediately behind them began frantically reversing and trying to edge their way out… somewhere. It was obvious they were packing it and desperately seeking a way out. It was when I saw this car (the carjackee) that I realised what was happening. Just as my window was next to the thugs, they pulled a gun (I have circled the gunman on my map). I floored it.
I was very shakey and immediately grabbed my radio to make a call to security but luckily realised that wasn’t a good idea because they would think I was being carjacked and would send a response vehicle so I found my phone and phoned security instead. Frantically I told them what was happening at THIS MINUTE!!!
After phoning security I phoned Daryl to make sure he wasn’t in the area too. Then I just started thinking about it more and more.
I wish I had been able to do something. What would I have done if I was being car jacked there? What exit points are available? None. I’d have to surrender most likely and then I worry… What if they try to rape me? I hear about those stories from time to time. Oh shit! What if I had BG with me? That really scares me. It makes me feel nauseous thinking of that scenario.
This morning I woke and immediately thought about it again getting pissed that I couldn’t do anything to stop these bastards from putting someone through such a traumatic event (I’m talking about the carjackee, not me). I realised that I could have rammed them with my car! If only I’d turned right, squishing the two on my side between my car and theirs and kept going so I could knock the other two over too! I had the speed because no one was in my way on my side. I would have gotten a really good run up on them and they wouldn’t have known what hit them! I wish I thought quick enough and f@#ked them over like that. Sorry about the language… I’m just so mad that I was powerless. Besides, who knows if the concreted barrels would have slowed me too much or not AND stuffed up my car so much that I couldn’t make my quick get away after at least making them wet themselves.
Who knows what vigilantes would have worked or not? I guess that’s why I am advised to just keep driving… FAST!
*Addition (since writing this blog this morning): I just went out with Daryl and we drove through the spot again… looking at it, ramming them most likely wouldn’t have worked. The drums between me and the carjackers have big blocks of concrete that my car would not have gotten through or over. It looks like my only option was to ignore it, hope the person got out physically unharmed (and mentally I suppose) and drive on. It is the perfect spot for carjackers and now I am an advocate for no trees on median strips. Keeping them bare, despite not being as nice on the eyes, should be a priority in PNG so that people can always mount the curb and drive out of there. Exit points people!*
Well anyhow, that was my experience of a carjacking first hand. It makes me mad hearing about them, now I’m real mad having watched one. I don’t really want to go out anymore although I know that isn’t a good solution. I’ll go batty staying in the compound 24 hrs a day 7 days a week. I wanted out of this country immediately after it happened and started planning a trip back to OZ for the weekend but have decided that would be a bad idea because I might not come back. Hopefully I will forget about it in a few weeks or at the very least the memory will be fuzzy and distant…
Have you had a scarey experience overseas? If so, what happened?
Now that’s off my chest… I can revel in the fact that my HM is GONE GONE GONE!!!! Woo hoo!!!
P.S. Apparently she told Julie’s HM, Susan, not to suggest her cousin to me because I told her I wanted to find one on my own. I told Susan that was a lie so her cousin will come in a month and Susan will continue coming here twice a week in the mean time and then hand over to her cousin with a training day and everything… things are looking up! 🙂