Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Uganda vs. Nigeria

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

I woke up this morning to the rain gushing down. It sounded like someone had turned the faucet on in full, and I was slightly confused because it was still sunny. It’s Sunday…you can hear the whole village singing at church. It’s nice to wake up to. Last year when I stayed with the Computers for Uganda team at Bukalasa Seminary we heard bells and singing every morning.

Anyway, on to the football game that happened yesterday…

So John, Teep, Alissa, Brenda, Ronnie, and I all piled into John’s car and headed off to the Ugandan Parliament building to catch a convoy that would take us straight to the Mandela National Stadium. All of the Parliament members, ministers, and their friends were invited as VIPs to attend the football match between Uganda and Nigeria.

Nigeria is currently the best team in Africa. Their coach is the same coach who coached the German team to victory at the World Cup, so everyone was pretty intimidated by this guy and his team.

When the teams got onto the field, you could definitely tell the difference between the plays. Nigeria’s team members were all much larger and muscular than Uganda.

The kickoff came and for most of the first half, the teams were pretty much head to head. The stadium crowd was yelling at the top of their lungs. Uganda’s fans had these little yellow MTN horns (MTN is the largest phone company in Uganda…think giant, eh, monopoly) and they were all making quite a racket. Nigeria’s fans (huddled together in a small section) kept a constant drum beat going for their players.

Then Nigeria scored. The Ugandan crowd cringed. It was over…they knew it. The stadium, though not completely silent, stood still (except for the Nigerian section).

The first half ended. All of us were afraid what the second half would bring, but we still clung to a bit of hope.

The second half started out pretty rough. For several times it looked like Nigeria was going to get another goal. The players looked tired, disappointed…their enthusiasm was gone.

Then Uganda got a penalty kick at the goal. 1:1

Then they got another kick. 2:1

The stadium was roaring. I could not hear a single thing outside of total deafening noise. We did it. We can win this game now!

Uganda was back in full swing. The players were alert and ready for anything. Nigeria came back at them with full force. They attempted several goals, but Uganda fought back. They kept their lead.

The final minutes came. Nigeria fought back harder than ever. But Uganda was equally resistant. They wanted to win. They were thirsty for a chance at the World Cup.

Then the game ended. The crowd went absolutely insane. People, thousands of them, swarmed the field. Dancing, singing, crying. It was a win for their country.

Then we got out of there, fast. We jumped into the car, but by the time Ronnie had pulled out of the parking space, the traffic jam had turned into a giant traffic mob, and we lost all hope of catching the convoy back to the Parliament.

I wish I had brought my camera to this…ah, I wont forget it again. It’s quite difficult to describe what I saw…but I can say this: Football makes men crazy and silly.

We got out of the giant traffic jam (New York, you’ve got nothing on this) and made our way back to the heart of Kampala. It was all incredible. Absolutely incredible.

Arriving in Uganda

Saturday, June 2nd, 2007

Well I’m in Uganda right now. It has been quite the journey over here.

The flight from Boston to Amsterdam was pretty calm. There were 40 empty seats (one of them was next to me), so I at least got to relax a little. This stroke of luck, however, kind of ended when I hit Amsterdam. In typical African fashion we boarded the plane at around the time it was supposed to have left already. My other carry on bag (a small suitcase) was then taken by one of the flight attendants because it was “too heavy” and they didn’t have enough room. I spent the entire flight worried about the health of the two laptops in there which Fredrik had given me for the refurbishing center.

Then I threw up. Hah, okay, so I timed my malaria pill so that I could take it at around noon Ugandan time…but of course this created a slightly sketchy situation as I was boarding the plane. I had to drink all my water that I bought at the Amsterdam airport because the security check happened right as I boarded the plane (joy), so I took my malaria pill with about half a bottle of tap water from the bathroom (I figured it was Amsterdam, probably safe…I wasn’t in Uganda yet), but oh boy my stomach didn’t like that.

Malaria pill + Amsterdam tap water + empty stomach = …well, you know

And I should have known this! But I guess my judgement was slightly impaired since it was around 5:00 am EDT by this time.

But it all eventually worked out. I took my pill again with dinner (I figured it probably all came out during *the incident*), so I’m fine now.

One good thing I did though: brought my own comfy blanket! As a result, I slept like a baby all the way to Entebbe.

Right before we landed I looked out the window and noticed this giant plume of ominous-looking black clouds. I also noticed that these clouds were emitting giant flashes of light! Turns out it was a tropical storm (eek!). I’m glad we didn’t have to go through that frightening weather…

Anyway, I arrived in Entebbe alright at about 8:30 p.m., got my visa, and then picked up my luggage–all bags in tact and everything perfectly sound and working. I made my way out of the baggage area…then I started to become worried. I couldn’t find anyone I knew. Aaah…did John or Brenda get my message? I was able to use someone’s phone to call Brenda, and she told me that Teep (John’s brother) and Ronnie (Mr. Bourne himself…kidding), were on their way. A couple minutes later and there they are! Whew, was I glad to see them!

We made it to John’s house, and had some time to eat dinner, with Matoke (cooked banannas) of course. And just as a reminder that I was in Uganda, the lights went out just as we ended. Luckily I had a headlamp (thanks mom), so I was able to get around the house and unpack alright.

I woke up this morning at around 9 am, surprisingly with little jet lag (oh, I’m sure that will settle in sometime later).

Anyway, I’m off to go see a football (soccer) game between Uganda and Nigeria with Teep and Alissa (his girlfriend from Pennsylvania). Along the way I’m going to pick up a SIM card, and hopefully my (hopefully unlocked) T-mobile phone will take it…