Sunset over Zimbabwe

A Night in Zimbabwe

After a friend’s wedding, Jeremy Wallace-Segall spent a harrowing night finding help for an injured man in Zimbabwe

On a photography trip to Zimbabwe, Jeremy Wallace-Segall found himself doing a good turn for someone he’d barely met — despite the fact that it meant putting himself in a situation that had gotten other people killed not a month before.

After traveling with friends through Zimbabwe’s striking Matusadona National Park, Wallace-Segall was driving back to Harare, following some friends in a pickup truck down a narrow dirt road. With three friends of friends in the back, the truck had gotten far enough ahead that he’d lost sight of it, until he came around a corner and found it had collided head-on with another vehicle—and that only two people were left in the back. The third, a Zimbabwean man he had just met who had grown up in one of the townships around Harare, had gone flying clear over the other car, and managed to escape with nothing more serious than a broken arm.

“This was less than a mile from where someone had been beheaded three weeks earlier after their car had run out of gas”

“We took him to the nearest clinic,” Wallace-Segall told Good Turns recently, “but after waiting ninety minutes for a doctor to show up, we drove another couple of hours to the nearest hospital.” It was a few hours after dark, on a night thick with fog, before Wallace-Segall and his friends left the hospital—long past the time the group had expected to be back safe in Harare. Before they could get back to the city, though, they ran out of gas, and had to hitchhike to a gas station and back in the middle of the night. “This was less than a mile from where someone had been beheaded three weeks earlier after their car had run out of gas,” he said.

Needless to say, such a fate did not befall Wallace-Segall and his traveling companions, who ended up driving through the night on a road that coursed over rolling hills like ocean waves. The night fog kept visibility to a minimum, and sat so low to the ground that their vehicle rose above the fog as it crested each hill, only to dip into it again on the way back down. They made it home before daybreak—and in one piece—having done a good turn that left New Yorker Wallace-Segall with one of the most gripping stories of his travels to Africa.

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