Posts Tagged ‘soccer’

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Chiyo: Chelsea vs. Liverpool

November 29, 2011

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I am still on an endorphin high from the experience I had tonight. I went to a Chelsea vs Liverpool match with Jamie, Rene, and Curtis, and it was unbelievable. I was the only Chelsea fan out of the four of us, Jamie a Liverpool fan, and Curtis and Rene just reallyyyy love soccer. It made me think back to the days when I was a striker several years ago.

Football is INTENSE here, and the fans are loyal, loud, and bloody fun. Jamie and I had the better pair of tickets (since she purchased them), and we got to sit in the lower sections. I could literally make out every players face (Go Torres!). Both sides were roaring with cheers, and although you can’t really understand what they’re saying, because it’s like a battle between the two sides, it was awesome. Earlier this semester we went to a lower level league team, but that was nothing compared to the professionals. I was definitely screaming and cursing a lot, and I think I have said “oy!” about 20 times throughout the match. It was an intense game, with the refs making a lot of bad calls against Chelsea. At one point when Liverpool was ahead, they had to bring out the brigade of security guards because like I said before, soccer fans are loyal and loud. It gets to a point where you wonder if someone is going to storm the field if a bad call is made because they get that crazy. Jamie had to keep her comments to herself since she was surrounded by Chelsea fans, and I was thankful for that. She would have been torn to bits if she made it known she was a Liverpool fan. 

Liverpool ended up winning, and it was a big upset because Chelsea had made some really good attempts, but just failed every time. Torres choked as usual, but at least our players know how to stay up on two feet (Liverpool’s players kept falling down). On the way home, it was mass chaos. Trying to get to the tube station from the stadium was hard enough. We had people pushing and shoving, and the Liverpool fans were cheering things like, “Thank you for buying Torres, Torres, Thank you for buying Torres…” Just to get on the tube you had to fight your way through the crowds, and I used my “fun sized” body to my advantage. I saw a dad pick up his small child, shove himself on the tube, and he barely made it on, with his son in midair to keep him from getting squished. 

It was one of those nights where once you’re on public transportation, everything goes your way. After we got off our one train to get a connecting one, there was one right when we got to the platform. We had to transfer one more time to get home, and the train was there in less than a minute. And the 297, which is a bloody disaster half the time, was actually at the bus stop, and we hopped right on. I still can’t believe I was at the Chelsea vs Liverpool game tonight. I won’t forget it. 

Chelsea and Liverpool are rivals, and here is one of the Chelsea songs they sing. 

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Grace: Toubacouta

October 15, 2011

Just to start off, I would like to say how much I love the country of Senegal.  The people here are so amazing, the countryside and beaches are gorgeous, the clothes are so cool, the food is delicious.  I could go on and on.  I realized last week that I was half way done with my time in Senegal and I freaked out.  I don’t ever want to leave! Of course I miss you, burritos family and friends, but I just wish you could come to Senegal instead of me having to come back there!

Anyways, this weekend our program took a trip to the south of Senegal, to a village/town called Toubacouta (it has enough people to make it more than a village, but I would definitely not call it a town).  It’s about an hour away from the village where I’ll be for my internship.  I can honestly say that this weekend was one of the better weekends of my life.  It was not only super fun, but I learned a ton.  It was both a vacation and field trip at the same time, and it was awesome.  We also did a lot of stuff, so just to warn you, this post is a biggun. 

On Thursday we left Dakar bright and early. The earliness sucked, but we got pain au chocolat and juice on the air-conditioned bus, so the situation improved quickly. It was about a 7 hour ride on the bumpy roads to Sokone, a village/town just north of Toubacouta.  Getting out of the bus was rough, I had kinda forgotten what heat was, but I was quickly reminded with the blast of hot air that bombarded my face and body upon arrival.  After I pretended to get used to the heat again (it’s actually impossible to ever get used to it), we sat down for lunch at the mayor’s house.  They made us like 6 HUGE platters of ceeb u jen (fish with rice, it’s delicious) and we maybe finished half. And then I felt super full, like post-Thanksgiving full, and all I wanted to do was nap.  

Thankfully that was in the schedule, so we hopped on the bus (with a renewed appreciation for air-conditioning) and headed off to the hotel for rest time.  The hotel was super cool, it was a bunch of little huts instead of rooms and it had a pool.  I passed out, and enjoyed sleeping in air-conditioning for the first time in more than 2 months (Ok, I’m going to stop talking about air-conditioning now, I promise).

Me walking into our hut at the hotel, enjoying the blast of cold air greeting me at the door (for real last time.)
After nap time we went to a soccer game, which was a lot of fun.  The Senegalese are definitely not lacking in spirit, and it was fun watching people rush the field and go crazy after goals.  It ended up coming down to Penalty kicks which always makes for an exciting game.  2 things noteworthy about the game: there were people in the trees around the field, which I thought was an excellent idea.  They had a fantastic view. Also, after every goal scored and at the end of the game, the players would go to the corner of the field and face what I assumed to be the direction of Mecca and bow and pray.
Soccer game (yellow dots in tree=people)
After the game we ate dinner, played a Wolof trivia game directed by Waly and Kourka, and had a dance contest.  Needless to say I did not win the dance contest.

The next day we got up bright and early and headed to the Poste de Sante (health clinic) in Toubacouta. We met the head nurse who showed us around the small building.  The paint was peeling off the walls and there was a distinct smell of mold in most of the rooms, but I could tell they were working hard to keep it as clean as they could within their means.  The on-site pharmacy was very meagerly stocked, and the pharmacist explained to us that the health infrastructure in Senegal is set up top-to-bottom so the rural clinics are the last to get medications, and never have enough.  They had a price list on the wall, and a the fee for child was equivalent to $3, adult $4, and this includes both the consultation and the necessary medication (this is a new system, they used not to be together).  The patients are guaranteed the medication they need if it’s on site, but they said that often the medications aren’t available. And they said that most people can’t afford the consultation/medication fees, and complain about the new system.  We also saw the clinic’s ambulance which is currently not working (they said it breaks down a lot).  This means that when patients require further medical attention at a bigger clinic (beyond the Poste de Sante’s means), it’s very hard to transport them.  It was really tough seeing how hard the staff was working (the head nurse lives at the clinic and accepts patients 24/7) but how desperately they needed help/supplies.  I could go on talking about this (public health really interests me), but I still have a lot to cover, so I’m gonna move on.  Oh and by the way, the Poste de Sante that I will be working in during November will probably be pretty similar.

Next we went to the Community Radio station, and they talked about the educational programs they do.  They talked a lot about how important the radio is in an area where literacy rates are low and people learn well through culturally-specific programs in Wolof (shout out to you, Dad!).  They said their most popular program is the one on agriculture.

Me dropping some beats on the Toubacouta radio, nbd  (just kidding, this was staged)

Then we went back to the mayor’s house and he talked to us about decentralization in Senegal.  Not gonna lie, I kinda zoned out during this.  It was hot, I was hungry, and there were lots of flies.  Difficult to keep my attention on a man speaking French and talking about government.  When he finished, we ate, and I once again over-ate.  I named my food babies (they’re twins) Ceeb (wolof for rice) and Yassa (name of yummy onion sauce).

After lunch we went to a village about 30 minutes from Sokone to meet with a women’s group.  There were about 50 (give or take like 25…I’m horrible at estimating crowds) women under a tree and we sat with them and talked with them with Waly’s translation help.  These women come from extreme poverty and are so poor that they can’t even afford the microfinance loans because of their high interest rates (these loans are supposed to help the poorest of the poor…flawed system apparently) so they came together and established a joint savings account to help each other have enough money to plant fields and establish a sort of insurance in case one of their family members gets sick or their crops fail or something.  
These women are amazing.  They all work long and strenuous hours every day in their fields to supplement their husbands’ incomes and take care of their children.  Even with all that work though, they said that there are problems with the saltiness of the soil, so their plants don’t grow well, they often can’t afford the expensive fees at the Poste de Sante (yes, it’s hard to wrap our brains around the fact that $3 can be expensive, but poverty is a hard thing), and getting their produce to the market in the next village is very difficult.  There is no way that someone could say that these women don’t work hard, or aren’t innovative and smart, yet no matter what they do, they cannot escape poverty.  It’s stories like these that really reveal the vicious unjustness of poverty and make me hate when people try to blame the poor for their situation.

After the women spoke to us about their group, their lives, and their struggles, they grabbed some buckets and gas cans and started playing music on them and dancing.  The woman sitting next to me, Mariama, grabbed my hand and dragged me into the circle where I awkwardly tried to keep up with their awesome dance moves.  There was one old woman who I swear never touched the ground as she danced, it was crazy.  And it was so amazing that even with all the hardships that they had just told us about, their response was to get up and dance.

After about 30 minutes of dancing, we reluctantly climbed back on the bus and headed back to Toubacouta.  I really wanted to stay in that village with those women for longer, but I reminded myself that in just a few weeks I would get to stay in a village for relatively long-term and actually really get to know the women there, not just meet with them for a few hours.  It made me really pumped for my village stay.

The inside of the bus

The next few hours were pooltime, dinnertime, blah blah blah, skipping all that.  That night we went to “downtown” Toubacouta (where the market is in the mornings) because there was going to be a performance.  I didn’t really know what that meant, but when we got there there were a few hundred people (again, this is an estimation…probably really off) gathered around in chairs, on the ground, and standing in a circle around 10 or so guys with drums.  All these little kids started running toward us when we got there and grabbed out hands and insisted on sitting in our laps for the show, which was seriously just so adorable.  I had a little boy named Abdou on my lap the whole time, and he was so cute.

Okay so first of all, the music was amazing.  I never knew using only percussion could make such great sounding music.  Second, the performance involved more than just the band playing, which I discovered when this giant terrifying white furry monster burst out and started chasing the kids in the audience.  The monster then acted out a scene (narrated by the drum music, which was super cool) of a folklore story.

Scary monster playing drum

At the end of the story, five girls and five guys started dancing.  And OH MY GOSH. I seriously did not realize the human body had the potential to move in the way that those dancers moved.  Those girls whipped their hair back and forth like their lives depended on it and it was soooo fast (Willow Smith would have been proud).  I don’t really know how to describe all the dancing, but it was so awesome.  Then this guy on stilts came out and started dancing.  Did not know dancing on stilts was possible, but apparently it is.  He and some of the other dancers made this like crazy upside-down human tunnel thing which another guy break-danced through.  So awesome.  THEN came the freaking FIRE EATER, which completely blew my mind. AND THEN this guy with really cool dreadlocks proceeded to walk on, smoosh his face in, and roll around in broken GLASS. Needless to say, it was an excellent performance.  One of the students in our program (also named Grace) will be doing her internship in Toubacouta with this troupe and we are all SO JEALOUS. (Okay, sorry for all the capitalized words, everything was just too exciting for lame lowercase letters.)

The next day we got up and put on our shorts (first time I wore shorts in Senegal, I felt so scandalous) and took a bus ride through the bush (we were off-roading it in a vehicle not at all made for off-roading which was interesting) to get to the national park about an hour away.  We were planning on taking pirogues (small boats) through the amazon-like mangrove canals, but when we got there it turned out there was no gas for the pirogues, so we moved on to Plan B.  Plan B was a safari at a nearby national reserve. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Whitney: ein Fußballspiel (a soccer game)

October 3, 2011




Tonight I was lucky enough to go to ein Fußballspiel (a soccer game) here in Berlin. It was very intense! Hertha (the Berlin team) scored three times in the first half, and each time they scored the crowd yelled cheers in unison and made SOO much noise! It was a fantastic atmosphere and because the game was in the evening, we saw a beautiful sunset during the game. Es war die schönsten Nacht!

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Sarah: Fútbol

September 29, 2011

In Venezuela, fútbol is like the mountains, the plants and the storms….

WILD.

And very different from the U.S.

I went to my first “soccer” game ever in South America on Sunday, and I definitely got a taste of the latin american fútbol scene. The passion these people have for the game of soccer is incredible. My favorite example of this is the huge sign I saw hanging from the fence surrounding the soccer field. It said “pasión y locura” – passion and craziness.

This is what a fútbol stadium looks like in Mérida, Venezuela:

And this is what a football stadium looks like in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

It is an amazing feeling to be sitting in the stands on a beautiful, warm, Venezuela evening gazing at the mountains that seem to be swallowing you up from every direction.

And it is an entirely different feeling to be freezing your butt off at TCF Bank Stadium with your friends, watching the Gophers play and smiling when you look up at that oh-so-familiar skyline in the distance.

But they are both exhilerating and give me a rush when I think about them. One makes me realize how lucky I am, how far away I am, and what an incredible experience I’m having.

The other makes me nostalgic, proud, and greatful to have the best family, school and friends in the world waiting for me when I come home to winter in Minnesota.

Needless to say, it would be impossible to forget either one.

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Doug: Week 3—Power Outages and Twiga

August 23, 2011

Hamjambo marafiki!

Yeah, we had plaid day at school…

So let’s get to it. As my August Swahili Intensive class comes to a close (final exam tomorrow. Don’t worry mom, I’m still going to study, even though Tufts only sees these classes as Pass/Fail), I’ve outlined some of the highlights from the final week before the other 20 students from the program arrive:

  • Giraffe Center visit–this place was super touristy (wazungu everywhere), but also really awesome. The five of us took a bus 45 minutes outside the city, to a twiga preservation park.

    They were even bigger and more majestic than I could have imagined. We got to practice our Kiswahili with some of the park staff, and may or may not have even kissed/ gotten licked by some of the twiga (everyone was doing it…). The pictures speak for themselves

Just sharing a joke with my old friend Laura

Don’t judge…

  • Soccer–the way it was meant to be played. Last week after school one day, three of my friends decided to go play soccer on a “soccer field” that’s in my friend Jeremy’s neighborhood, so I decided to join. We pumped up my friend Chelsea’s ball that she brought, and journeyed to find the field. Now, I’d be lying if I said I was excited to go play soccer. After all, after 14 years of attempting to play soccer (high school JV for 2 years, what up), I had pretty much come to the conclusion that I kinda strongly disliked soccer. All those days of summer conditioning in the blistering Ohio heat on my high school’s turf field had kinda scarred me. But the 2.5 hours that followed on that soccer pitch changed my view. The goals were a little above waist height and the “field” was completely dirt. Two young neighborhood boys, Toby and Jeremiah, joined us to make it 3 vs 3. Pant legs rolled up, no official gear or scoreboard, with clouds of dust shooting up into the air at every shot, it was not long before we were caked in dirt, smiling with our new friends we had just made. The boys knew English pretty well, but few words were exchanged–games are an international language. Clothes and faces caked with dirt, we called it a game (I myself being a little more winded than I’m proud to say), and headed home all smiles, promising to meet them again another day.
  • Power outages are becoming more of a norm for my family. Every other night in the past week, all will be normal, me doing homework or watching TV, my mom and grandma preparing dinner in the kitchen, and then all of a sudden, pure darkness. My mom will click her tongue and yell in Kikuyu at the electric company, who is apparently to blame for plunging us into darkness for hours on end. Luckily my Kenyan cell phone has a flashlight, and or I just get in bed at some crazy early hour (like 10PM).
And so the August Pre-Session is coming to a close. I leave on Wednesday to travel down to Arusha, Tanzania with a few friends to visit my friend Chelsea’s school that she supports, and to potentially check out Mt. Kilimanjaro, and hopefully do some hiking in the area. I’ll post again after my trip, and put up some pictures (assuming I don’t get my camera stolen). 
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Mark: Mexico vs. USA

June 26, 2011

Last night Mexico played the US in the final round of the Gold Cup tournament, so we decided to go watch along with everyone else in the zócalo where they have a massive screen set up for football games and movie nights.  I don´t follow soccer much at all, but how often do you get a chance to route for your own team in a foreign country?  

 

During the second half it started to rain which messed up the satalite reception, which finally cut-out with about ten minutes to go and everyone ran for shelter as lightning moved in.  By that time the US has given up a two goal lead and was down 4-2 so the game was as good as over.

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Kelly: The past week

April 20, 2011

Jueves (14/4): Completed a couple of interviews with people. A friend made a Chinese soup with shrimp for lunch. My tutor and I tried to meet in Ibarra to talk about my paper, but we couldn’t find each other and the cafe we agreed to meet at was closed and buses took longer than normal. It was three hours and an entire 90 centavos needlessly spent on buses (round trip, mind you).

Viernes (15/4): Did more interviews. Had a meeting with Emilia from CIMAS to talk about how my internship is going and what I’m doing. I had a hard time explaining that last part because I don’t necessarily have a set schedule, but I end up doing a lot of little, varied things that make the days fly by. I got a bit overwhelmed in realizing that a) this paper is going to take a lot of time to write/complete, b) I only have two weeks left in Otavalo and, c) I only have 4 weeks left in Ecuador. Emilia was very complimentary of my project though and said it’s something that’s never been looked-into before.

There was a going away party for several Ecuadorian friends (and friends of friends). Two people are going to Venezuela (separate cities though) and two are headed to Chicago for nine months. I left the activity at 4am, which, I found out later, is when things started happening. It’s probably a good thing that there will be less people to hang out with in these last couple weeks… I hope it will help reduce my procrastination.

Sábado (16/4): Transcribed interviews for a while; it takes so long to do, especially when there are words in Spanish I don’t recognize or screaming babies in the background who make it difficult to hear. Had fanesca at the family of a friend’s house. Here’s how wiki translated some information about la fanesca: “

“The fanesca is a soup typical Ecuadorian cuisine , is traditionally served during the period of Easter (or even a week before). This is a soup that is served hot. Tradition from Spain. Its preparation brings the whole family several days before getting down to work to peel the beans and let the soup more delicate, so are taking away the grain, grain husks. The fanesca is all a celebration that marks the Ecuadorian culture, is about teamwork, sharing and enjoy the cooperation of all members of the family, the Andean tradition, the wisdom of the elderly, children’s hands and the time of the grandmothers. Cooked in milk and cod. This exquisite dish blends indigenous tradition of Spanish culture. In honor of the twelve apostles, has 12 ingredients, including grains are typically Andean such as: corn , quinoa , lupines , beans , peas ,lentils , peanuts and beans . It tastes very special and delicious. Its scent back to the grandmother’s home preparations.”

Anyway, it was quite good and I was easily welcomed into the family affair. Out of necessity, I’m getting better at denying seconds and thirds.

After a nap, a friend and I hung out in the Plaza de los Ponchos for a couple hours: people-watching, making up movie-scripts about stray groups of dogs, and playing a second of hot lava monster. We joined others to play Jenga at a pub, then braved the rain to go dancing. There ended up being a huge fight—evidence of which remained in blood splatters on cars. When they started letting people in/out of the bar again, the energy was tense and we witnessed the beginings of more conflicts. Maybe the full moon had influence.

Domingo (17/4): Went with Humberto to the start of a soccer tournament in Iluman (I think?) called “Llullu Muru Raymi Pascuas La Bolsa,” which I assume is Quechua. It’s an indigenous tourney for kids/young adults, and like all indigenous festivities here, food was not lacking. During the comencement ceremony, the madrinas (which translates to “godmother” but has different significance in this situation as most of the girls were under 18 years old) of each team and the madrinas of the tourney in general were recognized and the organizers and other women of the community presented their gifts of food (chicken and potatoes or a quantity of cooked grains). Once all the grains were dumped onto a sheet in the middle of the field, tended by several women and circled by hungry dogs, it was an unorganized rush to grab handfuls of the communal snack. Humberto didn’t have a bag with him, so we ate out of his cupped fleece jacket as we walked to Peguche to meet up with Luzmila, Shryi, Ishanti, and Itumi at the church.

So it was palm Sunday, right? Did you know that there is a species of little birds who live in the special type of palm-Sunday tree whose numbers are endangered because of the desforestation of this plant? It’s true. Which is why it’s not allowed to use that type of plant anymore—any leaf will do. Luzmila brought the tops of two stalks of corn and we carried the now-blessed bundle with us back to the soccer fields to watch a game or two. Shyri had been upset that this was the first tournament he hadn’t played in in nine years, but he ended up meeting up with friends who let him join. From everything I hear, he’s a great jugador and is always participating in some tournament or pick0up game.

Lunes (18/4): Worked on transcribing. Conducted two really interesting interviews. One with a holistically-minded gynocologist and the other with Luzmila. Found out that before pharmacists sell anti-conception or birth-control methods to women, they ask whether they are married or not; this helps explain why the pregnancy-rate of teenagers is one of the highest in South America (also, 94% of sexually-active young people know about birth control methods, yet only 42% use them). Men are not questioned about their marital status. Oh machismo—it manifests in so many ways. From a liberal, feminist, equal-rights perspective it’s interesting to live in this culture that degrades and highly values women at the same time. I don’t always know how to deal with it.

Went to Regina’s house to have fanesca with her host family. Every family has their own special way of making it and each claim that their grandma’s is the best. (I preferred the first type. It had peanut butter. PB always wins).

Martes (19/4): More f-ing transcribing. Practiced to a new Dave Farmar yoga podcast! Helped grind chochlo to make a colada. Will be meeting up with a friend to hang out before she returns to the states.

Also, did I ever post a picture of me wearing the anaco? I have proof…

 (I’m staying in Cesar’s room. He told me once that he likes the indigenous from my country and has dreams to meet and marry one… explanations for the wall decoration)

At the wedding. One friend of Humberto’s told me I should always wear the anaco. I think I look like I’m 12.

Erika and I took pictures with Photo Booth today. She’s been in a surprisingly friendly mood compared to the usual blank face she gives me when I try to chat with her.

 

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