Friday, 24 September 2010

HOW I BROUGHT THE WORLD TO ONE ZAMBIAN PRISONER



In an institution such as Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind, little things meant a lot. Like all schools, this one had its "in crowd" as well as those who languished at the bottom of the social ladder.

In the summer of 1966, my father tired of my begging and bought me a six transistor pocket radio. It was black with silver paint on its speaker grill and tuning dial. I fell in love with that little set. With it, I heard some of the greatest rock music the record industry ever produced.

Realizing how precious such a simple receiver was to me when I was exiled 500 miles from home, I sent a wind-up radio, one with a dynamo and rechargeable battery, to a Christian prisoner in Zambia. It literally meant the world to him as he could finally get news from "outside" via the BBC. His next letter to me was filled with thanks for this simple-but-effective receiver. As in my case when I had a radio at Jericho, Geoffrey's cell mates were also able to be entertained.

From Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School), here is an excerpt that shows how my little AM receiver changed things for me at that institution and helped me endure it.

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For the first time in my life, I owned my own radio. All the boys without receivers envied me. To have a transistor portable of one's own was a real status symbol. Instead of begging somebody to turn on their set, I could tune in the local rock stations anytime I desired. Now I had the privilege of entertaining others with my receiver.

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Deliverance from Jericho contains many more vignettes of what life was like in that government-run institution. These range from poignant experiences of homesickness to hilarious incidents of mischief. Click here to read more about this book and to order it. You may also e-mail me directly for more information.