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Published: August 3rd 2012
My poxy alarm went off at 5:30am, why I agreed to help the kids maintain their football pitch I really do not know. I drag myself from my bed and wait outside for the others. Its still dark, very quiet and chilly.
We all potter to the field where Amandas colleague Elaine is already with a number of kids doing warm-up exercises and jogging. Once we all gather to discuss what we are to do we realise one problem - we have no tools! The kids were supposed to speak to the local school the night before to arrange to borrow buckets, spades and shears! Nevertheless, some kids run-off and return a bit later with buckets and spades and they begin to collect sand to level the pitch.
Due to lack of tools, there really is not much for me to do, so I enjoy the sunrise, and watch flocks of what I think are egrets rising from their roost and heading towards the lake, there are also birds of prey soaring above. Tom, Amanda and I eventually decide to head back to the house and prepare breakfast.
Come 10am and the three of us head to town
see the Kesesa Sukuma drum and dance group compete at the stadium (these are who I heard rehearsing yesterday). Each local group has put together a song and dance to represent a local beer Balimi.
What a bizzare event this was. I had no idea that it was going to be such a commercial occasion! Each group was playing traditional drums and rhythms with traditional Sukuma dancing however, on top of their traditional dress they were wearing T-Shirts advertising Balimi Extra Beer! There were also large promo signs behind them, and between each act a repeated voice advert for the beer! What was most bizzare is that every dance managed to integrate the brand into their performance, some had men drinking the beer in celebrations and one even pulled a bottle out of a dead fish! After sampling the beer, the men would then burst into crazy dance! The dancers and the drummers were all incredibly talented and very well rehearsed. It was an enjoyable yet strange event - see pics for a better idea!
Come 4pm and it was time to meet the street kids of Mwanza for another football match! We arrived at the red-dusty pitch
and immediately one kid (Kevin) ran up to Amanda and jumped on her for a hug. A few more turned up and we started playing one touch, and eventually as the numbers increased got a match going. Somehow I end up in goal AGAIN and needless to say we lose.
We were joined during the game by two older teenagers - one on each team - who were particurlarly good. I discover after the game that they play in the local league and one of them does football coaching. After the game he gave the kids a de-brief and agreed with Amanda that he would help out for future games!
We say our goodbyes and head back to Kesesa. This evening we hang out on the buzzing main road where locals are enjoying their Saturday night with drinks and socialising. Sitting on a bridge, we sample a local hot maize drink from street stalls, and watch the vibrant community around us. Many people stop to say hello and ask that we are well. The atmosphere in this dark street, with the burning fires, street food and random loud music reminds me of being at a festival back home.
The 3 of us soon head to a local bar for a couple of beers, I was of course sucked in and brainwashed by the drum competition and decide to try out the Balimi Extra, which was actually rather nice 😉
Tomorrow I plan to head back to Mwanza to begin being my epic journey to Kigali, Rwanda. I will be sad to get that departure stamp from Tanzania, I really feel like I have become part of the community and the locals have been so generous and welcoming. I loved working in the Maasai communities as a volunteer, and enjoyed very much living in Sekei Village where the people were again very welcoming and warm. It got to the point where a 15 minute walk through the village would often turn into a 45 minute walk because of all the 'Steve' greetings! I even managed to make friends with the local Maasai elder Rafael who could not speak English or Swahili, but somehow we managed to play cards and share some nights out.
Asante sana, kwaheri Tanzania 😊
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