Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Football is God

Today marks the beginning of my fifth week of travel, but more importantly it marks the fifth day of the World Cup.

Each year a consulting firm calculates the billions of dollars of efficiency lost during the NCAA Basketball Tournament due to workers watching the games on the internet. While this is an interesting project, I think they should turn their attention to the World Cup.

Football (or soccer if you like) is the main event here in Kitete, and it is capturing everyone’s attention. At any given point in the day there will be between 20 and 40 people huddled in the dark dining hall watching on a little 24” TV ghetto-rigged to a dilapidated satellite. That’s just for any old game. If an African team is playing, everyone is watching, seriously everything stops. Some of the students even dressed up in shirts and ties for the first Nigeria game.

Just today Tyler and were discussing how the students seem abnormally tired in class. It didn’t take us long to diagnose the problem; the students have been staying up late watching football. Football is more than a sport here. It is a religion.

Tanzanian Fun Fact: I have occasionally heard people talk about wanting to “drop off the grid” by going camping or hiking. They should just come to Kitete. We are roughly 13km from the nearest power line and a 45 minute jeep ride from the nearest paved road.

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