Saturday, November 15, 2008

Movie Night in Aketi

If it wasn’t difficult, it wouldn’t be Congo.

Last night, we attempted to watch Jane Goodall’s Wild Chimpanzees in French. We’d originally planned to do it the night before, but our generator had died and Seba, our resident mechanic, was away in Buta collecting our money.

So, no film.

Last night, we set everything up, pulled out the projector we lugged all the way from America, and revved it up.

And then all listened, together, as we heard the generator sputter and then die.

Because the consistency of power of generators here is so bad, it’s necessary to have an electricity stabilizer also plugged in to regulate the current. I’ve already learned the hard way that without this, electronic devices tend to go boom. Or in my case brrrkfffjjjsssssssssss. Thank goodness I brought an extra computer power adapter!

It seems that, timed perfectly with our movie night, our stabilizer had died. I had about 40 minutes of power left in my computer, so watched as much of the movie as we could, everyone huddled in the dark around my laptop screen.

It was not the regal movie night we had expected.

As people left and we were giving up (and Adam and I were cursing having lugged the generator all the way here), Polycarpe arrived from the mechanic’s house with a different stabilizer.

We plugged it in, and suddenly, everything worked again. Even the projector!

So we started again, and a completely new group of children and families piled into our living room, sometimes three people to a chair, and watched with wonder as Jane’s french proxy spoke to them from the screen.

The sound was still a bit of a problem, because the generator is so loud it tends to drown everything else out.

But to watch the wonder of this one kid, sitting on the couch across from me, mouth agape and eyes twinkling in the reflection of the screen -- it really was just enchanting to watch.

“Where does the picture come from?” he asked, and someone pointed to the projector and he looked just incredulous!

We got through the whole film, and afterwards lots of kids stayed to watch slideshows of our trip to Yoko Forest projected onto our makeshift movie screen - a piece of white fabric hung from our front curtain rod.

What a great night, and I’m glad we got to do it before Cleve left!

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