If you have ever flipped through your city’s Foreign news section, you have probably seen them : the bus plunge articles. Short articles about fatal accidents in countries with bad roads, steep mountains and heavy dependence on transportation by bus. I have been to such places. And I have travelled in such buses. From Dili to Ainaro, from Delhi to Rohtang Pass, from Lao Cai to Sapa. Invariably these articles begin with the words ‘ A bus plunged ….’ and end with a quick count of the dead.
Some see in them a reckoning: how many lives msut be lost on a Third World roadway for it to be considered First World news ? When three Americans are slain in Venezuela, it makes frontlines and swallows hours of airtime on CNN. If a truckload of people goes off a cliff in the Karakorams, it merits three lines of an AP stringer’s time.
Such is the way the world turns.
Why I am saying this to you ?
This happened on an occasion when this irony of our world’s formidable advancement with Communication technologies couple with communication professionals’ dwindling morals. On one of these loaded buses trips through a steep hill, we lost of of the best trained teacher administrator in Timor Leste. This came as a blow following the aftermath of the country’s population of teachers either fleeing or having been killed in the reprisals of 2001. The intensive Capacity Building training we did was bearing its fruits finally. We were equipped with a solid team of trained trainers who would start the re-building of the education landscape of the country. One of them was Maria ( name not disclosed as a mark of respect), she was a highly charged little lady ready to make a difference. She would have had influenced whole communities. But she just happend to travel by bus on the fateful day. The driver was too easy on the accelerator and the bus plunged …….. She died.
A loss. It is a loss. A drop in ocean ….?