From the Archives: Facing My Vincentian Driving Nightmare


Originally Written January 13, 2016

After being on the island over four months I’ve gotten used to pretty much everything here.  In fact there’s only one part of Barrouallie life that strikes fear into my heart…and that’s the driving.

The good news for me is it’s almost impossible to get lost in St. Vincent since there’s only one main road.  The bad news is that roads are a lot smaller than American ones, and the fact that they are doing construction makes them even smaller!

To be honest I’m getting a lot better at my island driving so most times I can get from one place to another without making a fool of myself.  However if I have to back up (sometimes its necessary to back down a road when another vehicle is approaching)  my driving resembles that of your ninety year old blind grandmother.

Last October the Lord used a simple trip to the grocery store to illustrate just how much driving in St. Vincent affected me.  I went with a friend to get some groceries and his cousin was there so we decided to give him a ride home.  Everything was fine on the way home with our groceries till my friend told me I had to back up a road in order to drop his cousin off.

That ended up being a very humiliating (and frustrating) situation 

From that point on my greatest fear was having to back down or up a road to the point where I would literally pray before turning the van keys “Lord please don’t let anyone be coming down this road!”

Of course sometimes God doesn’t answer our prayers for our own good 🙂

Last Sunday afternoon there was a large funeral in town and people quickly ran out of places to park so by the time I went to pick up Church members a very long line of vehicles had parked along the main road. This meant you could barely get one vehicle through at a time.

On the way back things had gotten much worse because a truck had parked the wrong way (facing traffic) so it had to be moved before anybody else was able to do anything.  After lots of arguing in Vicentian, I was forced to back up pretty much blind (being directed by those in the back seat) and reveal to dozens of island people my horrible driving skills.

Now if I had faced a situation like this in October my response would have been to calmly lock the van, and then run for my life!  But Sunday night I was able to keep myself calm in a very stressful situation surrounded by Vincentians critiquing my driving.

What made the difference?

I had done it before.

See I still pray that vehicles won’t be coming when the engine starts, but I’ve also faced my fear of backing down tight roads, and got better at it every time.

There will probably come a day when island driving doesn’t bring stress (probably about twenty years) but I’m incredibly thankful that God forces me to face my worst nightmare.  Because it’s facing it and living that helped me keep calm on Sunday.

Update 12/30/21-Though some of the small village roads still heighten my stress level, I can confirm the fact that the more we face our nightmare, the easier it is to deal with.  

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