Intro from Jay Allison: A story about Thomas William, one of the Sudanese "lost boys" in Maine, and what it might be like if you were his girlfriend. This happens to be another Transom feature recorded in one take on cheap equipment in a closet. Yes, it has some hiss and a p-pop or two, but it also has a home-made, letter-to-everyone quality that you get with an unpolished straight telling. When Studs Terkel was asked on Transom what he wanted to hear on the radio, he answered, "Something real." In an age of glitzy, logo-fied, theme music journalism, the rough-edged sound of authenticity is ever more appealing to our ears.
Notes From Terry Farish
Thomas William came to Maine from Juba in the most southern part of southern Sudan where the Nile enters his country from Uganda. He is from the Bari tribe, a neighboring tribe of the Dinkas, which many of the orphaned Sudanese refugees to the U.S. come from and who are often referred to as the Lost Boys. The Lost Boys have some fame in America and Thomas refers to them to identify his country.
Thomas talks easily about everything he misses in Africa and about the shelling of his home that scattered his family. He was reunited with his mom and they live in Portland’s Kennedy Park with his brothers and sisters and extended family. I was recently with them and we watched Aljazeera coverage of the Iraq war via a satellite dish mounted on the front railing at their apartment door.
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I taped the story on a Sony TCM-929 with a ATR 20 Audio Technica mike – not a recommendation but they do have them at Best Buy. A student at the Salt Institute where I teach told me if you’re recording in the field, try going into a closet. So I did, and told Thomas’s story in that silent, close space.