For all who don’t know, the World Cup has just started. Football (aka soccer for the US of A-ers) is HUGE in Kenya, but believe it or not, it’s not a huge part of my life here. My neighbor is fairly apathetic, none of the teachers are particularly preachy about it, and even though the students love it, because they don’t engage with teachers on a friendly level, I never hear about it. I must be one of the only Peace Corps volunteers in all of Africa that can say football doesn’t impact my life on a daily basis.
But I cannot escape it completely. It’s still here. I still see jersey’s everywhere, and during World Cup time people are constantly asking if I am going to see any upcoming game, or asking why I haven’t purchased a plane ticket and flown down to South Africa. There has only been one game in all my time here that I have intentionally watched, and that was USA vs. Brazil during the Confederations cup last year. It was a fun game, and watching it in the bar with a mixed fan base was a lot of fun.
Today marks game number two of my intentional football fandom. Tonight, at 9:30pm Kenya Time is England vs. USA. My friends and I are going to cheer on the good ‘ole Red, White and Blue at Forty Thieves Beach Bar in Ukunda. There are bound to be a bunch of football-crazy Europeans and Kenyans, and a very good chance we will be the only Americans in the crowd. Yet again, I predict a good time.
Though my football experience may not be considered typical of Peace Corps volunteers in Africa, it is enjoyable enough, and I can say that I can now at least appreciate the game a bit more. I am just grateful that my exposure to it has been at a comfortable pace for me instead of being surrounded by football-crazy individuals who are completely confused as to why I can’t name the lineup of Man U or Arsenal.
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