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As we neared Yaoundé, I was startled from my stroll down memory lane, as the van abruptly screeched to a halt and did a three-sixty on the road, throwing all of the passengers into an ugly pile of crowded sardines. Everyone began to curse in their familiar dialect as they scrambled to find their seat, but confusion ensued as the van was so crowded, passengers couldn’t get back to their seat without stepping over another. No one seemed to have a grasp on what was going on and some people had begun to panic as they were straining to also get an idea of what had caused our sudden stop. I don’t know what possessed me to take control of the situation, but something inside quickly convinced me that things could turn from bad to worse unnecessarily so, if someone did not guide others as to what they should do next.
I began to give directions in as much of an authoritative voice as a fifteen year old could muster and for some strange reason, people listened. One by one, I helped each person get back to their original position, while directing others around them to move out of the way. Shortly, the atmosphere in the van had calmed and the driver who had run to check on the vehicle coming opposite us that had crashed in the bush, returned and we resumed our journey. Rumors started from the front of the van and carried to the back that someone had died in the oncoming car.