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“Was it fate that made me switch buses?” By Nadia GuyadeenQuite a few things have occurred in my life that I think I will never be able to forget.  But last Saturday I had an experience that shook all my emotions, particularly my fears.As a reporter, I have seen the worst of the worst in terms of accidents and murders, including the gore of gruesome deaths. I have seen so much of it that I could cover such a story without getting emotional. I had even boasted (to myself) that I had seen it all and it doesn’t bother me like it did when I started in this business.However, on Saturday, when I heard of the death of my colleague, NCN reporter Akila Jacobs, with whom I had sat and talked not too long before her death, tears came to my eyes and I felt nothing but a piercing pain that I cannot describe.The bus that was transporting Akila and other media representatives collided with a sand truck on its way back to Georgetown, following a GT&T assignment in Ituni. Akila and the driver of the bus were killed, and several other media personnel were seriously injured.As with every story, the best place to start is at the beginning, and that is what I will now do.GT&T invited the media to cover the launch of a new cellular site in Ituni, a small town in the interior. I was chosen as the reporter to represent the Kaieteur News on this trip.Akila Jacobs (far right) and Guyana Times reporter Ravena Gildharie taking notes at the commissioning of the cell site in Ituni. I did not mind, since I had not been on an out-of-town assignment for the entire year.I was told that transportation would be provided and that I was to be at GT&T for 08:00 am. I prayed before I left my home on Saturday morning, which I must admit is not something I always remember to do.I arrived there on time, bright and early. Akila, along with her camerawoman June Ann Amsterdam, Chronicle reporter and photographer Vanessa Narine and Adrian Narine respectively, and Guyana Times reporter Ravena Gildharie were already there. We were later joined by Merano Isaacs and Mohamed Nazim of NCN.The driver was late, so while we sat and waited we engaged in some light conversation.Akila was talking about her two-year-old baby girl, her new hairstyle, and things like that. She told us that she was surprised that they were driving to Ituni, as she had thought the media was being flown in.When the bus finally arrived, at around 08:30 am, we all embarked on our long journey.Akila was sitting in the front seat, while I and Chronicle photographer Adrian Narine sat in the back, because we had the same intention – we wanted to sleep.Despite being tired, I found it hard to sleep, so we made jokes and laughed, we were happy. A lot of competition exists among the various media houses, but all that disappears when we meet on trips like this. We would be the best of friends in such times.The driver of the bus, the now deceased Terrence Tappin,Supply Authentic NFL Jerseys, in my opinion, was going a little too fast, but I said nothing – a mistake I will never make again.Anyway, we got to Linden safely and ate lunch together.After eating, we went into separate vehicles on our journey through the long trail to Ituni. That ride was about one and a half hours long. I was in a pick-up with Adrian and Vanessa.We got along with the driver great, and enjoyed the journey. We got to Ituni before the others, and went for a tour around the village. We had a great time,Wholesale China Jerseys, we laughed, played and enjoyed being in each other’s company. We were separated from the rest of the group after then.The actual assignment was scheduled to begin at 14:00hours, but we were told it would start a bit late and that Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, who was supposed to declare the site officially open, could not make it.Akila started working at NCN just about two months ago, and was assigned to cover assignments connected with the Prime Minister. As such, she was the reporter sent on this fatal trip. The painful part is that the Prime Minister never turned up.The programme began and concluded in an hour’s time. The vehicle that took us dropped off two villagers before we headed out of Ituni. Adrian, Vanessa and I left Ituni last – that was at around 16:30 hours. The others were pretty far ahead of us. We passed them way down in the trail. As we were passing them, our driver went into a hole, causing me, who was sitting next to him, to brace his arm. He swerved a little and then hit the brake.The others, from their vehicle, shouted to us to be careful. That was the last time I saw Akila alive.We passed them and kept going without looking back. The driver of our vehicle was eager to get out of the rugged trail before dark.We asked the driver if we had to change vehicles at Linden again. He said that he was not sure but that he was going to Georgetown and he would take us. We thought it was a good idea.I was at Supply, I believe, or somewhere thereabout on the East Bank of Demerara,Wholesale Jerseys, when I got a call from a friend enquiring whether I was alright. My friend informed me that he had received reports of an accident involving media persons at Amelia’s Ward, Linden and he was concerned for my safety.I told him that I was fine and knew nothing of an accident, and disconnected the phone. We continued on our journey until I got another call that a policeman called NCN from June Ann’s cell phone.Struck with a sudden sense of fear, we did the only thing we could have done at the time. We panicked.Our driver phoned his superiors and our worst fears were confirmed. We turned and headed back for Linden. We heard that the driver was dead and our friends were at the McKenzie Hospital, and without having to think, we knew that was where we needed to be.Strange enough, when I realized that my colleagues had re-entered that bus and we did not, many feelings surged through me.I tried to stay calm and positive and make the others in the vehicle feel the same way, but as the phone calls started pouring in about the severity of the accident, the fear and panic was evident.I felt as though the drive back to Linden would never end, it was taking so long, but that was probably because every time the driver went above 80 kilometres we reprimanded him.When we finally got to Linden, the ambulance that was transporting Akila and Ravina Gildharie, who were at the time both badly injured, to Georgetown Hospital sped past us.We proceeded to the hospital, and when we got there, we were greeted with news that Akila had fared the worst of the lot, since she was seated in front of the bus.Adrian and Vanessa began crying, while I tried to keep my composure and get into the hospital to see the others.June Ann and Mohamed were stable, and I was relieved. After a little run around from GT&T’s staff members, who were telling us not to take photographs or invade our injured friends’ space, we left for Georgetown, as we were transporting Mohamed to GPHC on our way down.En-route to Georgetown,Jerseys NFL Wholesale, Adrian received a phone call that changed everything. When he started crying and screaming, “No! No!” I knew what had happened but something within would not allow me to believe or accept, until the words came out of his mouth: “Akila just died.”It was then, for the first time during the entire ordeal, that I could not keep my composure. I cried.Akila was not a personal friend of mine; we would just see each other on assignments and exchange a few words. I had known Akila for years. But when I heard what had happened, I felt as though I was connected to her on some emotional level.I remembered all that she was talking about that very morning. I remember plans being made for all of us to go to Le Meridien Pegasus for Italian Night. I thought of her two-year-old daughter that she was so proud of, shattered dreams,Cheap Jerseys For Sale, the broken hearts of her family members, friends and work mates; and yes, the thought did enter my mind – It could have been one of us.I felt pain that this 23-year-old mother, whom I had seen smiling and laughing and going about her work with such diligence, was gone just like that.I thought of the bodies of the many young mothers I had seen. Every one of those cases must have been just as heartbreaking. I suddenly wondered about the children of those women. As we took the journey back to Georgetown,NFL Jerseys Cheap, a fear gripped me the likes of which I had never experienced before. Was it fate that Adrian, Vanessa and I did not end up in that vehicle? I wonder.I will remember Akila. I will remember her anytime I am in a vehicle and the driver is speeding, and I will remember her anytime a young woman speaks with joy about her child.This has affected me tremendously. I went home on Saturday night and could not sleep; and when I finally dozed off, I dreamt of Akila and all the others that were injured on the trip. I awoke after about 30 minutes of sleep, feeling restless and finding it hard to sleep for the rest of the night.Bad things happen to people every day, but somehow the human mind does not permit us to think that those things could just as easily happen to us.Sometimes people think that they are immortal and/or exempt from certain things, like diseases, accidents, robberies…I leant a valuable lesson on Saturday: Never take life for granted.