Thursday, February 2, 2012

Chasing the Sun with a Soccer Ball

   Before you begin to read this entry, please open a second tab on your browser, head over to YouTube, and type in LP – Into the Wild.  It’s a song, the photo you’ll see is a very stunning woman with super curly hair/fro thing.  That is the theme song of my day today, and, I hope, the song to the rest of my days here in East Africa.
   I could take my time to tell you about my first time working breakfast cook-crew this morning, and how I rocked those pancakes (without Bisquick, but from scratch!)
   I could tell you about the fresh fruit we get every single morning here.
   But I’ll have time for that later.  For today, let me share two stories.  One is silly, and my friends will giggle when they read it.  The other is moving, and lovely, and quite striking in its simple splendor.
   Today in class we learned some tracking techniques for animals.  One informative source from animals is their – say it with me now – dung. Poop. Number 2. We were informed that a place designated by animals as their poop-palace is called a maiden… Yes (Hannah, Miranda, Mom and Dad, John and friends), our hometown shares the name of an animal’s crap-trap.  I could not make this stuff up, and you may or may not tell whomever you wish.
   Oh good ‘ole little Maiden, you just can’t get a break, can you?  (To John, how does it feel to know you play for the poop-camp blue devils?)
   Tonight we took our cameras, donned our now dirt-caked tennis shoes, and made a short trip to the “soccer” field to play some ball.  The children were waiting, smiling with happiness, reclining leisurely in the grasses.  It was tennis shoes against bare-feet.  Adults against watoto.  Us and them.  Feet beat the earth solidly, and laughter was the sound of the afternoon.  In soccer – in playing games – there is community, solidarity, and an equality perseverant above any language or culture barriers.  A smile is a kicheko is a smile; ultimately universal in happiness. 
   The last of the evening was spent observing the sunset, my first in Tanzania that I could watch the sun set fully behind the mountains of Arusha.  The land was golden, the clouds bursting with fiery hues of red and yellow.  The sun our target, the cameras our weapon, and our minds in paradise as we watched the sun fall below the horizon.  Children smiled for pictures, and silhouettes were popularly photographed.  We were happy, and we were all watching the sun set.  It was a shared moment we had today, one that everyone could partake and appreciate.  A sunset is beautiful, and all the more so knowing that I was standing in the foreign lands that many have termed God’s Country.  The beginning of man.  I’m not so sure it’s where it all started, or that Africa was the birthplace of man… but I do know that it has been the start of an amazing, life-altering experience.  One I hope to share with everyone.  
(All photos are mine mine mine.)

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