Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Do you read me? Over.

When language teams are in the village, many rely on radios to communicate with other teams, with aviation, or with friends back at the center. Yesterday I (Susan) got to try my hand at radio communication for the first time.

Brian and I are a support team for Joy (pictured above), a literacy worker who was in our POC group. This means that we pray for her and also help her with practical things like getting ready for a village stay, taking care of her errands while she is away, or stocking her fridge with basic foods before she comes home. We also stay in contact with her while she is in the village by setting up radio skeds (a sked is a 15-minute block of time on the radio schedule). Joy left for her first 3-week stay in the village a week ago, and so yesterday I had scheduled a time to check up on her. Other than almost kicking a snake that she thought was a vine when she went to the water to bathe, she reported that she’s been doing well.

So in radio etiquette, you’re supposed to say “over” when you are done talking, so that the other person knows it’s their turn to talk. In normal conversation, we have all sorts of little “filler” phrases, like “ok”, “uh-huh” or “cool”, just to show the other person that you are paying attention to what they are saying. Well, that doesn’t work so well on the radio. What I realized while talking to Joy yesterday was that it sounds really stupid to say “uh-huh….over.” or “cool…over.” I had to scramble for something more substantial to say. It was hard! If you don’t believe me, try not to use any filler phrases next time someone is telling you a story.

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