Saturday, July 3, 2010
I’m looking forward to the memories of right now…
First, allow me to apologize for not putting up many pictures. Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t take many pictures. But more than that, it takes a very long time to post them because the internet connection is slower than we’re all used to.
GOALLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!! The room erupts. Elijah (the watchman), Timothy (one of the Aya Centre employees), Uncle Solo (the driver) and I jump around yelling GOALLL and hugging. Sonny (our tour guide and one of the smoothest brothas you’ll ever meet) runs over from the big house jumping and blowing his whistle. If I weren’t familiar with soccer I would’ve thought Ghana had won the entire World Cup. Horns, music, and screams echo throughout the entire neighborhood. And what a shot it was.
Off to the bar at halftime we went, Chez Afrique. Food came secondary to the game for Sonny and I. I listened to the folks speaking Twi (the most common language aside from English) attempting to follow along with the conversations. Shrieks and screams as the Black Stars attacked were heard all around. Kyale (pronounced chalay) was said over and over. It’s a slang word for homey, man, or buddy. We might use it saying “ah man or oh man.” Red card in the last minutes of extra time… Penalty kick awarded. Everyone was jumping up and down, hugging, and singing “OOOLLLEEEEEEY, OLLLEEEEEY, OLLLEEEY,” etc. “Off the woodwork,” says the Ghanaian commentator. Silence… Sonny fell to the floor.
I think you get it now. After the loss the bar cleared out. Tears fell; you could sense anger and hurt in the air. Finally the band began to play the peaceful tunes of Bob Marley. Some frowns turned to smiles and folk began to drink and dance away the pain of losing. And for that man wearing #3, Gyan, the weight of a continent on his shoulders. A place I’d never want to be in. A pause in the music came and the bar sings the Ghanaian National Anthem in unison.
Even a day later you could tell the excitement has not fully returned to this friendly, up tempo peoples.
Studying the sociology of sport as an undergrad forces me to think about sports in a different light. The pride, belonging, and attachment that sports bring with it. Soccer is heightened across the world. And in this case, the Cup being in Africa, the only African team left, it was hard to accept. And now we’re left with Spain, Germany, Uruguay, and the Dutch. There’s no team to root for that looks like me ☺.
After returning home from the Chez Afrique I was lying in bed and heard a loud noise in the bathroom (connected to my room). I knew someone was in the shower and figured the soap or shampoo had fallen. Then a knock on the door, it creeks open. “Abdul,” says one student holding the back of his head dressed only in his towel. “Sorry to bother you but I just fell and hit my head and I think I’m bleeding.” Bleeding he was. We spent a few hours in a Ghanaian hospital. It was interesting to hear the doctor talk about the politics of being a doctor and the hospital as an institution. But what was most fun was negotiating the price for his stitches. I thought of Frances while I was there. Frances was a fellow MacArthur scholar that left his secure job as a pediatrician in Ghana to attend the Masters in Public Health program at UMN so that he could study preventative methods in childbirth. He told me he couldn’t stand to send another woman back to her village without the child she was supposed to return with. He’s graduated and back in Ghana. I hope to connect with him. We need more people like Frances.
Have I mentioned the food?!?!?! My goodness. I’ll save it for my next blog.
I’ll be at the beach tomorrow. Don’t be jealous, Halwa. Reubs, Keith, and Andrea, I’m going to try and get up with Uncle this week. Laura, I have to call Moses. Haven’t been on facebook since I arrived.
The life and times of amo…