Arrival and First Day….

Jambo!

My first Swahili word..I thought I had learned some great conversational words from this SWahili book at the apt and then when we went to the shopping market, I choked!  Couldn’t remember a damn thing.  Still, I’m determined to learn this fascinating language while we’re here.

The flght with Erica was a blast…She made me play HOURS of trivia which was great.  Like five hours of trivia.  We’re sitting here trying to tell you a factoid we learned during those five hours and literally can’t remember a single question.  Suffice it to say the flight was long, but fun and we got here in good shape.

First day was really cool.  I had pile of goat meat for lunch with some Tanzanian sauce on it (called Mbuzu), which was delicious.  I’ve also tried several of the local lagers, the best of which in my opinion is Kilimanjaro Lager.  Cold, crisp, clean, and very effervescent.  Great for the weather here although I have to admit it doesn’t hold a candle to Occidental Kolsch from good ole P-town.  Erica had some veggie currie which was delicious as well.  Oh and a Kilimanjaro Lager as well 🙂

Then after lunch and some wandering I came home to find a little kiddo named Dick who wanted to “teach me football.”  I agreed and two other local boys came out and set up two “goals” with 4 rocks, about 30 feet apart from each other.  He guarded one goal, me the other.  And we just kicked the ball back and forth on his instruction for about ten minutes.  I was thinking that it was a bit boring and how was I ever going to score on this kid if I couldn’t leave the goal-box…Then he formally introduced me to his two friends that constructed the goals and one was placed on my team and the other on his.  We were now allowed to pass, once, to the team-mate, who had to attempt to score or kick back to me, at which time I was required to attempt to score with one kick.  At that point I realized he was building the game up in steps….He was literally “teaching” me how to play football (soccer).  For level 3, we were allowed to leave the goal-box very temporarily.  Now came the opportunity for some strategy.  I was getting coached by my teammate, who couldn’t have been more than 8, and we started kicking some tail.  Well, he started kicking some tail.  I mean this kid was GOOD.  Dodging in and out, coaching me along the way, we scored 5 goals in like 5 minutes and it was starting to get fun.

Then 2 other kids came out of the woodwork and were placed on the opposing team…Wait, 4 on 2?  I guess that’s level 4. Nevermind that, I was now allowed to leave the goal-box continually, and my little buddy whooped up on his friends like he was the 36 year-old and I was the 8 year old!  We were now in a full on game and it was AWESOME.  a ridiculous amount of fun and we were starting to get spectators !  Babies, adults, toddlers, etc.  Then an adult french ex-pat and his little son, who was probably 5, entered the game after we were formally introduced by DIck.  Now 5 on 3, we were playing some hardcore soccer (with 8 year-olds).  I should mention that this was on pavement and the kids were barefoot, crashing into each-other, sliding all over the pavement, and having the time of their lives.

Once we hit ten goals, I started to get really thirsty (weird, huh?) and when I took a drink I realized I was REALLY thirsty.  I think I drank 3 liters of water during the game.  We were up 19 to 11 (playing to twenty), it was now 6 on 2 again with me and my little buddy against the world, and I crapped out.  I think I may have gotten a touch of rhabdo or hypernatremia or something, but I noticed that they were scoring a lot more goals on me despite my continued efforts at goalie.  They scored up to 19-19 in a fierce ten minutes of play.  All tied up, the youngest kid dribbled up, put a shot on me, and through it went.  They won, 20-19, and my little buddy was devastated and confused as to why I was such a bad goalie (with a smile on his face, of course).

I may or may not have let that last goal go through.  The kid that made the shot was tripped by me earlier in the game (by accident, as I said it was intense) and slid over the pavement.  I had also pegged his little brother with a goal-kick right in the chest (again accidentally, but I may have gotten a little bit too into it!).  So needless to say I owed the kid one.  So that, and my worsening rhabdo, may have played a part in that final goal going in, but the world will never know for sure 🙂

The game of the century had ended, I learned how to play football, and Dick will be waiting for me this afternoon for Game 2.  Apparently this is a series!

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