Back at the worksite this morning more plaster was needed so I stripped off my shoes and socks and got into the mud to mix. I think all my dead skin was exfoliated yesterday because mixing the dirt, water and straw hurt. I actually ended up with quite a few little scratches all over my feet and lower legs. I’ll just make sure I keep them nice and clean.
All that is left of the home construction is the installation of the doors and windows but this was our last working day. We were all sad to be done but at least we’ll be back at the worksite tomorrow for a closing event.
After lunch it was time for the much-anticipated soccer match with the locals. Apparently it’s been the talk of Silte!
Julia planned our lineup the day before. Unfortunately I told her I’d have to be official bench warmer/cheer leader/photographer.
It was unreal driving into the soccer field. Children and people were everywhere jumping up and down and cheering as we drove in. Some even climbed the trees surrounding the field in order to get a better view.
Their excitement and enthusiasm brought tears to my eyes because it truly illustrated how sports can bring people together. Half way across the world, in a completely different culture where we didn’t speak the language we were able to connect with an entire community simply by playing soccer.
Experiencing first-hand the universality of soccer made me wish I played the sport. Shortly after the game started the clouds opened up and it started to pour rain.
Everyone got soaked to the bone but stopping the game didn’t cross anyone’s mind and none of the spectators left. Julia had the chance to take a penalty kick that I doubt even compares to any of her experiences in collegiate soccer.
Everyone rushed the field and surrounded the net when the penalty kick was called. Julia was able to focus in and block out the distractions in order to make the shot.
The final score was 5 to 3 for the Silte team.
The one bad thing was that I lost the FlipCam during the game. It must have fallen out of my pocket during the excitement of the game. The worst part was the footage that was lost. We were planning on making a ‘Call Me Maybe’ music video, Ethiopia style, but all the dancing and singing we filmed at the work site was on the FlipCam in addition to footage from the game was on the FlipCam.
After the game, we went back to the field nearby our hotel where I got a chance to share my sport with the children. We were playing with the kids when some started to do handstands.
The other student-athletes encouraged me to do a handstand for them. Once I was up in handstand they all circled around and kept requesting more. I also did a press to handstand which they loved and got the more adventurous kids to try some gymnastics. It was so much fun!
We’ve now been in Africa for six days and a few people have started to feel less than stellar. Hopefully whatever disagreed with them will pass through their system quickly.
I’ve felt great all trip (knock on wood) so brushing my teeth with bottled water and avoiding fresh fruit is working.
Limited Internet access prevented Stephanie from posting these blogs while she was in Ethiopia. The trip was completed in late June 2012.