I split the Ivy scene as soon as I graduated, becoming a forest ranger in the California redwoods and then a Peace Corps volunteer in rural Zambia, and traveling through Africa, Europe and Asia. All in all, I visited or lived in 24 countries and owned every album by Van Morrison by the time I was 27.
Then, a few years later, I lost what was left of my hearing. After nearly 30 years of high-powered amplification shoved right up my ear canals, the membranes that hold the inner ear fluid had worn out. They couldn't take sound anymore. Medically speaking, they went kaput. It was 2003, and I was 32, working for a plasterer in New York City. I was on the job, sanding the living room walls of David Bowie's SoHo penthouse, when someone dropped a bucket and the sound -- unbearably loud -- knocked me over like a falling brick.
Swiller has published a book about his life in Africa while serving in the Peace Corps. His book is on my list of "books to read." My deaf friend, Ed Hudson,(who died in a plane crash) served in the Peace Corps in the 80's and he shared several stories of his time in the Corps. So I'm looking forward to reading Swiller's book.
NPR posted an interview with Swiller and included an excerpt from his book. Unfortunately, to obtain a transcript, one has to cough up $3.95. I'm disappointed that NPR didn't release the transcript for this interview.
Josh Swiller Website
Update: My friend Rachel passed on a copy of the transcript (thanks!) and explained that transcripts are available to deaf and hard of hearing persons upon request. According to the NPR website, buried way down in the FAQ section:
Does NPR offer free transcripts to hearing impaired individuals?
Yes. If you are hearing impaired and would like to request a transcript of an NPR story or program, please contact NPR Services at 202-513-3232 through a relay operator. NPR will send you the requested transcript via e-mail. You will need the following information:
The subject of the program segment you are looking for
The name of the program during which the segment aired
The date of the program during which the segment aired
Your first and last name
Your phone number
Your e-mail address
A group of deaf and hard of hearing adults from AGBell have made numerous calls to NPR to request a transcript release and advocated for easier access to transcripts. Kudos for their advocacy efforts!
Henry Kisor, a retired book reviewer puts his stamp of approval on Swiller's book:
Deaf in Africa