Cranking-up to get connected

Posted: December 3, 2007 in Blog

Wind-up shortwave radio

One of the last things I bought before heading to Uganda was a $40 wind-up shortwave radio. It took me a while to finally buy the thing because I was worried it would take up too much space in my backpack. Now, nearly five  months later, I look at it as one of the most valuable things I brought with me.

Many of my mornings and evenings begin and end with the whirring sound of the crank that charges up the radio’s battery. One minute of cranking gets about one hour of play, so every now and then the voice on the radio begins to fade and so the whirring sound of the crank seeps out of my room as I wind up for another hour of listening time.

To say that I’ve been completely disconnected from issues outside Uganda would be wrong. The Internet has been a great way to keep up on things, but between the connection being unreliable (and slow, so no downloading video clips) and it just not being the same as reading the papers and listening to the radio every day, the ‘net doesn’t fully fill the void.

That’s where the wind-up radio comes in. The BBC World Service has been a blessing. Each day I spend about an hour tuned into whatever program happens to be on when I happen to crank-up the radio.

Sometimes it is current affairs programming; other times it is music programs. Sometimes it is even drama, like yesterday when I happened to tune in to a drama program about a rocking horse…

Regardless, it has been great, and definitely worth the effort it took to cram into my already over-packed backpack.

  1. katelewis says:

    My dad came home with that exact same radio (from radio shack or whatever it’s called now?) for me yesterday. We are gonna be really big geeks with matching radios.

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