Island Advice: Avoid the Potholes

I had a bit of a scare today. I was driving my scooter on a bright, sunny day, heading off to a series of meetings and fun events for the rest of the afternoon. Unfortunately, while I had planned ahead for those activities, I hadn’t planned on hitting a ginormous pothole in the road and crashing my scooter.

Clearly since I’m writing this, I am okay.

I was very shaken up, and a bit scraped up, but otherwise walked away without a problem. But the accident isn’t what I want to focus on. What I want to highlight is how wonderful the entire community was in response to it.

Ana was driving behind me, saw what was happening and stopped her vehicle to prevent other traffic from continuing on. She protected me. And she also immediately got out of her car and came running over to be sure I was okay.

The taxi driving towards us stopped and blocked traffic coming the other way. The driver checked on my scooter, which had slid across to the grass on the other side of the street. He rolled it back across the street to my side and stood it up safely off the road.

Martin was driving the Sun Divers truck two cars back from my accident. He jumped out and immediately offered to drive me to town to the hospital. He also took my scooter in the back of his truck to bring it back to West End for me. The scooter actually barely got scratched. Although, maybe we just can’t tell the new scratches from its many old scratches at this point. Regardless, Rusty is running smoothly again, no worries!

Tish stopped and made sure I hadn’t broken any bones. She checked my pupils and made sure I hadn’t injured my head at all. She also very intelligently grabbed a towel in case I was bleeding heavily (I wasn’t, don’t worry).

Within minutes, an ambulance even showed up! Now I am one of those typical West End naysayers who claim that it’s quicker to put an injured person into a cab than to call an ambulance. They certainly proved me wrong today! They pulled right up with a bilingual driver and an EMT in the back. They did the same checks Tish had just done and made sure I was alright before letting me leave. Nothing broken, no crazy pupils, no major bleeding at all.

Gio, with whom I had scheduled a meeting later, happened to come upon us and came right over to check on me. I didn’t need to go to the hospital – luckily I was fine. So Gio not only drove me straight home, I was dropped off to rest while he headed into West End to grab what I would need from the pharmacy. He came back with an entire bag of supplies and refused to allow me to pay him back.

All of these people took the time to check on me and to take care of me – and only one of them actually knew who I was. Other drivers stopped to ask if further assistance was needed, including taxi drivers and motorcyclists. Everyone was concerned, even down to the neighborhood kid who ran out to grab my sandal and my purse from the middle of the road. He brought them straight over to me with a very concerned expression on his face. I assured him I was okay, but he looked as shaken up as I was!

I can’t thank these wonderful people enough. And an incident like this truly makes me reflect and realize how strong and supportive this whole community is in Roatan. I’m afraid somewhere else I may have just been bypassed or – perhaps if one person stopped – everyone else would assume I was taken care of so they could carry on with their days. Nobody here passed by without checking on me. Not one single person.

I am very lucky to not be injured after a crash like that, but I consider myself even luckier to be part of this caring community. Thank you all for being so very kind.

I truly do live in paradise.

19 thoughts on “Island Advice: Avoid the Potholes

  1. Pingback: Personal Announcement: Working in Roatan | AWalk on the Run

  2. Got back from 10 days in Utila the other day, sprained my ankle badly on the way out of my hotel room. Pulled my way back up the step to bed where all i had was Facebook to communicate to people. Within an hour my hotel manager sent someone to check if I needed a doctor. Within 2 hours my buddy stopped by to check if I need to go to the doctor. Within 4 hours a bartender who barely knew me brought me food and rum to numb the pain. The next afternoon the hotel manager (who was still out of town on the mainland) brought me a meal and cigarettes and later sent someone with medicine. Frankly I was surprised how the two local expats responded so went out of their way to care for me. All I was to them was a frequent customer, not even really a friend outside of Facebook but I only knew 5 people on FB in Roatan. Definitely a compassionate group.

    PS: leave tomorrow back to DC. Thanks for meeting with me and I look forward to continue reading your posts.

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    • I completely agree, Brandon! This community is so impressive. I’ve had several phone calls, texts, and emails today from various people checking up on me and offering even more assistance. It’s such a great group here! I hope you’re feeling better and ready to take on whatever’s coming up next for you! If you ever make your way back to the rock, you know where to find me. Keep in touch and keep up the writing 🙂 Safe travels!!

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  3. Glad to hear you are okay Amanda. Amazing group of people over there. Stories such as these warm my heart…..I like the sense of community Roatan has. Thanks for sharing & see you soon.

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  4. I’m glad that you weren’t seriously hurt and I appreciate you sharing your experience of so many coming to your assistance.

    I witnessed this sense of community on a visit to Roatan in 2012 with Hurricane Ernesto on a track towards the island. Thankfully it didn’t hit Roatan, and only rained out a day and a half of my vacation, but seeing everyone pull together and doing some creative problem solving to get ready for the storm really impressed me.

    I think what stood out the most was the apparent total lack of racism. White ex–pats from the states were working alongside Latino Central Americans and Caribbean islanders and everyone was friendly and cooperating to get done what needed doing. In fact,the only interpersonal conflict I have seen on my two trips to Roatan has been between two of the American ex-pats I met who are neighbors, one a liberal and one a conservative. And while they aren’t exactly buddies, when push comes to shove, I think even they wouldn’t hesitate to help each other out if needed. That sense of community is not something you see very often in the states these days, and that’s one of the reasons I hope to be able to live in Roatan someday.

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    • I agree, George, it’s truly amazing to see people from such varied backgrounds come together without hesitation whenever a neighbor is in need. I love this community! Since the accident, I have had countless emails, phone calls, and texts from other friends and neighbors continuing to check up on me and asking if they can do anything to help. I feel very lucky indeed! Here’s to hoping you can one day join this lovely community as well 🙂

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  5. It’s good that you were not seriously injured, something that is often overlooked in blogs like yours and other promoting different places is the lack of medical care. Some mention the crimes and gun violence but usually downplay it a lot but few talk about medical care. With virtually no trauma care on the island some injuries that may not seem major in other places are now life threatening, no blood bank, no blood screening from donors if you find them, no quality imaging systems and sometimes no easy way even to the mainland if you are not stable due to airline rules or the airport being closed. Got malaria? ear infection? no worries but things get serious quickly. I imagine from your experience with the “ambulance” you realized a visiting nurse on vacation probably has a better emergency kit.

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    • Hi Edwin/Walter/Sarah (you know you can just use the same name, right?),
      While this is an island so of course certain limitations exist, medical care is truly available easily. With multiple clinics and hospitals on the island – including a brand new hospital being built currently in French Harbour – and direct connections with the military bases on the mainland for immediate medical evacuations off-island to the nearest available treatment center, we’re actually doing better than many rural places in the U.S. or Canada. Wherever you are on the island, you can get to a medical center by road within 10-45 minutes and then be transferred for further treatment if necessary. I know people who have had catastrophic accidents, yet the immediate action and initial treatments they received here on-island kept them alive. I feel confident knowing that if I need care here, I will receive it. And I tell that to people honestly and openly, not to promote the island (in which I have zero investment), but because I believe this is a wonderful community to live in and to be part of. Thanks again for your negativity though, it really just brightens my day to see another comment from you.

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      • Dangit, Amanda! Why can’t you see that Edwin/Walter/Sarah (bless his/her multiple personality heart!) is trying to save you from your terrible life in that hell-hole of crime and disease! I, for one am grateful for his/her words of wisdom because they will help to keep people like him/her from going to Roatan and ruining it!

        But to be fair, Edwin/Walter/Sarah does bring up a good point about the health risks of living in a third-world disaster like Roatan. It’s far better to go somewhere safe and disease-free like Disneyland! OK, that’s a cheap shot because obviously if you did contract measles at the happiest place on earth, at least you’re in a country with ready access to top quality medical care that statistically is now the number one cause of death in the U.S. (when you combine medical errors, adverse reactions to medication, and iatrogenic infection).

        Liked by 1 person

        • A couple hundred cases of measles is terrible but among how many millions? Also the issue is more people not being responsible for themselves and taking precautions that are offered, Very different from not having any care available, Again, think abut no true trauma on the island, no blood bank, when blood is needed they look to the community and use non screened blood, they ambulance doesn’t even have defibrillator. Think about receiving unscreened blood in one of the worlds worst areas for HIV

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          • If you are so fearful that something traumatic may happen and you don’t think you’ll receive proper care here, you simply shouldn’t come. Live somewhere in a city next to highly rated medical facilities. You will sleep better at night, and I’ll continue to enjoy my paradise. As I said, I know multiple people who have had accidents or sudden medical issues who were all treated initially on-island and then transferred to the mainland for further medical care. All are fine. All are still living here happily. Since you clearly live your life in fear, I recommend you stay away from Roatan. This is clearly not the place for you.

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          • You are absolutely right, Edwin. But your concerns about the availability of medical services in the case of extreme trauma would apply almost anywhere in the world more than 100 miles or so from a major metropolitan area. If you prefer to stay close to top-notch medical facilities just in case of a dire emergency, that’s your choice. If someone is a bit less risk-averse than you and wants to venture further out in the world, that’s their choice. Both choices have their pros and cons. For the more adventurous, the downside of their choice is that they might die suddenly due to inadequate treatment for a serious trauma. For someone who sticks close to the conveniences of urban areas, they deal more with the chronic toxic effects of stress and pollution common to those places. What’s right for you is right for you. But what’s right for you is not necessarily right for everyone else.

            You apparently think Roatan is a crime-ridden, disease-infested, backwards hell-hole of a place. Fortunately, you have the choice to just not go there. Feel free to leave it to the people you think are idiotic fools like Amanda and I and we’ll all be happier for it.

            Liked by 1 person

        • Is it exhausting being so negative all the time? Because it’s really easy to be happy and positive, in case you were wondering 🙂

          I’ve said many times that people need to be honest with themselves and if medical care is a concern, don’t move to a remote area anywhere (including the U.S. or Canada). Clearly you are one of those people who are fearful of many things in life, so you really should not live here. Personally, I know several people who have been successfully flown off-island to larger medical facilities to be treated as needed. I feel very sorry for Nilson and wish the best for him and for his family. Road accidents happen everywhere unfortunately and they are always terrible.

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  6. Pingback: All the ways this island has tried to kill me (so far) | AWalk on the Run

  7. Pingback: Roatan Insider Tips: Transportation Around the Island | AWalk on the Run

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