In two days we would travel to Mukono for the prayer conference that the church had organized. We kept attending practice, singing and dancing to perfect our performance. This event is organized every year by The Church of Jesus Christ, for the youth of the church from different countries. During this event, we would learn bible verses, perform our talents like dancing, singing, drama, and football too. Last year was so fun, and I was excited for this year, too, hoping it will be even better than last year. My friends were also excited. Last year we had made many new friends from different branches of the church.
The following day we went for more practice at the church. It was our final practice; the next day we would leave. We finished early and the people supervising the trip made a list, to know how many people would be going, to ease their planning for when we were there. The event would last three days. As we were leaving in the evening for our homes, the bus that was going to carry us was already at the church, set for the following day.
I arrived early the following day, excited about the trip to Mukono. The supervisors arrived in the next half-hour. They started calling our names: immediately when you’re called you enter the bus with your luggage. I was among the first ten to be called, so I entered and sat near some stubborn boy named Daniel. I sat at the window and he sat next to me. Everyone settled in and the supervisors came on last and then the bus took off. From Kitgum to Mukono was seven hours drive, on a good day. The morning was so bright and vibrant, immediately after the bus took off I slept, for I hadn’t slept the whole night, thinking about our three-days stay at Mukono. Daniel kept on waking me up, telling me not to sleep for he wanted someone to chat with. I didn’t wake up. I was too sleepy. We had not reached even half-way to our destination when the bus started turning over. I snapped out of my sleep when the bus was upside down. People were shouting and crying in pain. Some had fainted and others were badly injured. I was lucky that Daniel was next to me for he was the one who pulled me safely out the window, seeing that I didn’t get cut. He saved me, and instead the glass cut him. I had minor body pains but no injury at all. At that moment, I felt as though I would never see my parents again—all the trips we’d been making, all the parties and my siblings. It felt like was losing myself slowly but steadily. At that moment I realized that any one of us could die at any moment, that it doesn’t matter who you are and death doesn’t choose young or old. The bright sunny day had vanished and there was a lot of rain. All I could see when I opened my eyes was a green environment—a lot of trees and grass. I couldn’t move due to the shock, and my body was not able to react to anything at that point. All I had was the feeling of fear in me that I might never see my loved ones again. Within a few minutes the crash site was crowded with people and the police trying to pull us to safety. Amidst all this, I had no scratches at all, and no injury except for those minor pains. There were two dead people and almost half of the passengers had terrible injuries. A new bus came to take those who had minor injuries back to Kitgum, while another bus arrived to rush the seriously injured people to the hospital. I was on the bus to Kitgum. As soon as we reached home, we were taken for check-ups and we were all okay, just minor injuries. They dropped us at our homes, and the dead ones were also taken to their homes, and the church compensated their grieving families.
25 January, 2023