Monday, October 26, 2009

rockin' it country style in sudan

I've been moving photos from one computer to another tonight and came upon this bit of video. It made me chuckle, for the pleasant memory it holds, so I decided it's time to share it with you. There are so many stories yet untold from my Africa travels, and I'm still hoping to give those stories life here over time. This is a start.

I met Kennedy during a quick overnight trip to southern Sudan from my base-for-the-month in Uganda. I've been curious about and captivated by Sudan for a long time, so I was really glad things came together for me to get at least this brief bit of time there. Kennedy is the Ugandan aid worker who hosted us in this very remote town. As we flew in, it was clear this was one of the more remote places I'd yet been during my Africa sojourn. The terrain was parched and filled only by scrubby growth. No other spots of concentrated life were visible from the air, outside of the town we were visiting.

Kennedy was great and had such a fun sense of humor. We spent a good bit of time being driven by him between aid sites in the SUV that's so necessary for driving in such places. There'd been some rain recently, leaving behind some very muddy, deep water spots on the dirt road. Kennedy had to do some fancy driving to get us through them. After he'd successfully gotten unstuck in some spot or other, I called up to him from my perch in the back of the vehicle: "You're having fun, aren't you?" He grinned in response.

So in all this driving around, I barely noticed the music lilting from the vehicle's speakers. Someone else commented on it first. I didn't notice it because it just seemed so normal to hear Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, and more singing to me. I'd just assumed it was the radio playing all this time. I didn't stop to realize that it was unlikely that there was a country music station broadcasting in remote southern Sudan.

Turns out that Kennedy is a huge country music fan. He was pumping his tapes of country music through the speakers. Kennedy offered me an unexpected bit of home in the middle of this hardscrabble locale. It was fun to tell him about my Nashville home and the country music stars who used to come through my Starbucks line. I was supposed to come back to Nashville and tell them all about the big fan they have in Sudan. :-)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

a little more NOLA

One more New Orleans post is live! There's even a recipe included this time. It's clearly a must-see post. Hop on over while the hopping's good. ;-)