[I just ran across this and thought I’d post it. I actually wrote it in my journal last April during training in Luweero. So so much has changed since then, but at least I think the stuff about night-noise holds true.]
As I write, it is nighttime here. The electricity went out just after the sky got dark, and so complete blackness has descended over town within a moment. Without light, the sounds become somehow more noticeable.
Example: last night, I awoke during the night and all I could concentrate on, in the total dark of my room, was a rustling sound coming from the far corner. Earlier in the week, a large spider (about the size of my fist) escaped capture, and I immediately thought that it must be back. Or else it must *surely* be a giant rat or monster cockroach lurking. Somehow I managed to fall back to sleep, hoping that my tightly-tucked-in mosquito net would protect me from whatever creepy-crawly had taken up residence. Today I went searching for the offending creature only to find a small toad, about the size of a golf ball.
Now, night has fallen again, and La Bamba is playing on a radio somewhere in the distance. I can also hear a TV because one of the families next door has the rare luxury of solar power. Other than this, the neighborhood has a subdued hum. I think that a few women may be having a conversation next door, but the children are beginning to fall asleep.
There is something that lives up in the rafters (there is no ceiling) that makes a noise somewhat like a cricket, though sometimes I suspect there also might be some type of bat inhabiting the upper portions of the house. So long as I don’t see it, I can try to convince myself it’s not there.
The clouds came at the end of the afternoon, and the rain has just begun falling on the corrugated metal roof. This time, it begins slowly: a gentle pattering. But sometimes, I awaken in the middle of the night to a deafening roar that signals the arrival of those dense sheets of rain that will wipe everything blank, washing away the layered red dust and filling all the rainwater drums that sit out under the eaves, waiting.