It was a cold Sunday morning on the last day of January. We had gotten up at 5.30 in the morning to arrive early in Todgha Gorge, our next stop on the journey towards South Africa. Everything was as always in the truck; some people were sleeping, others reading books, writing journals or simply looking out the window into a landscape that looked like it was taken straight out of Star Wars. The ground was sandy brown with just a few green bushes growing that the camels would feed on. Our truck was driving slowly, about 30km/h over speedbumps and then on top of a narrow bridge. That is where our adventure took a quick turn. Someone in the front must have shouted that we were going to crash or something, as I thought to myself that I needed to find something to hold on to or put my hands up to protect my head. I went for the latter, and the next thing I remember is elevating over the bench for a micro second before being shot to the front, together with the thirteen other people who were sitting next to me. We were cramped into one big mass as the truck had landed with the front into a giant sand dune. I did not know which way was up or down until some locals came. They broke what was left of the front window and dragged us through it, one by one. It was just a few minutes before the police and ambulance arrived at the scene. The ambulance took with them the four people who were injured and two, including me who could help out as support and translators. We had been to three hospitals by the time that they finally could tell us what the damage was. Two were fine, Jussi had a broken arm and Gloria had some kind of damage to her back. She was taken to Errachidia where she still staying and talking to her insurance company and I joined Jussi on a 8 hour taxi ride to Marrakesh to have his surgery done there.
Witness reports and photos from the scene has shown that the driver who drove into us had the full responsibility of the crash. The bridge was only big enough for two small cars to pass each other and when trucks or buses had already entered the bridge the smaller cars on the other side were supposed to wait. The car had tried to drive past us and when it crashed into us from the side the car forced our front wheel to turn off the bridge. Things could have gone a lot worse if we had missed the pile of sand. Then we most likely would have flipped over on our wooden roof, which would not be strong enough to hold ten tonnes of truck. We could then also have our heavy canisters of water, cases of beer etc to fly on top of us.
Gloria might not be able to continue the trip and if so she will be greatly missed. The silver lining is that the bond between the people in the group has been strengthened and the experience has taught us to make the inside of the truck more safe by securing water tanks and loose objects better than before. We do have hip seat belts for every one of us, but wearing them would only have made the situation worse.
It is unsure how long the people in the hospital would have to stay or how long time it would take to fix the truck, but it is sure that we will continue as planned, just a little longer behind schedule than before.