25 September 2007

i'm just wondering

I am fascinated by the satellite phones. I don’t quite understand them. They have this “sat alert” feature that rings when you are inside, and then you have to run outside so that they can switch to a normal ring. Then and only then can you answer the call, if it’s still ringing. Half the time, the call has disappeared by the time you get outside. I don’t understand how it is that they must have access to the sky in order to function, but, when under a roof, they know that a call is coming. How can they sense the call if they can’t access the satellite? Is it just that the satellite signal is too weak for a call, like how you can receive a message in places where you don’t have the network to make calls on a cell phone? And if so, why can’t my cell phone do that, so I can move to a better location?

We had a dance party in the middle of the compound last night. I don’t dance, except in Africa, and then badly. I love the impromptu dance atmosphere, though – the moonlight, the arguing over whose music to put into the cassette player, the music itself, in Lingala or Swahili or Luganda, and the fact that everyone else seems to be good at dancing. And every once in a while it all catches up with me and I realize that I’m dancing, badly, in a courtyard in Southern Sudan. “How great,” I think, “is my life?”

It is moments like that when I’m not sure – why was it, again? – why I said no to a long-term position one country over from here, in favor of moving back to the US and learning to be a real lawyer. In meetings the day after such moments, I have to make a list to remind myself of all the reasons why, at least for a while, I need to be in Reasonably Big City in the US. Because there are reasons, and good ones, but sometimes my love of being here overcomes reason.

Hmmmm. I have perfected the lemonade.

Also, I need to correct the “DON-key” story of a few days ago. I had to re-listen to it in my head. It was more like “do-NKEY!” The NK diphthong (are consonants diphthongs, or is it vowels?) made it even cuter.

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