Friday, March 23, 2012

Bird’s Eye View.


As I mentioned before, Aid Sudan is building a radio tower in Tonj which will be dedicated to health teaching, education, and evangelism. However, Diguna is responsible for making it happen on the technical front.

So earlier this month they sent three Kenyans, an American, and a German to piece it together. They worked alongside a dozen or so Sudanese, and made quick progress.

Half the crew stayed on the ground heaving up sections of the tower, while the other half scampered up the fixture to tighten the bolts.

Naturally, their activities drew crowds of unschooled children and bored adults. It’s not every day a radio tower goes up in a town as small as Tonj.

The Diguna team worked quickly and was able to finish on time. And on the last day of their work, they let a few of us climb it.

Yep, 230 feet --or roughly 23 stories tall-- it’s not your typical mountain. But I confess, I was keen on the idea.

For those who don’t know, a radio tower is shaped like a 23-story needle sticking straight out of the ground. Its three-sided piped frame is light-weight but heavy-duty. And to keep it in place, it is anchored down with cables --lots and lots of thick cables.

Don’t worry. We used climbing gear --of course-- as who wants to fall 230 feet in Sudan!

I have to say, it was a rush scaling the structure. I’ve climbed in the past, but never anything quite like this. I took my time, pausing to rest every few minutes. When I rested, I’d secured myself in with hooks, then hang off it like a hammock. 

Amazing.

At the top, the structure swayed like a blade of grass in the breeze. And the sound of the wind through the bars rang in my ears, calming me. 

Everything looked finger-painted and blurry. Houses were dots; huge trees were bushes; and even the dry riverbed looked like a scratch in the sand.

Turning my eyes South, the town stopped abruptly at the river’s edge, then there was nothing. To the East, yellow grasslands rolled out like a speckled blanket; but Northward it was all business.
There were a handful of thatched roofs, but the largest eyesore was the road to Wau. It cut the earth unnaturally, taking a corner where no corner needed to be taken. So I turned my eyes Westward to find the sun robing itself in the rusted-oranges of dusk.

Beautiful.

At one point, a hawk spotted me and circled back to get a better view. He made three passes then moved on, gliding higher still in the wind.

Mesmerizing.

It’s times like this that remind me why I love it here so much. 

The In Deed & Truth compound viewed from tower.