Sunday, June 13, 2010

T'was the day of the World Cup

T'was the day of the World Cup 
and all through the nation 
not a creature was stirring 
as they were tuned into the local TV station 

World Cup fever has hit hard here in Kenya.

As we were walking through a community that is usually buzzing with activity, I noticed an unusual silence. The streets were empty. No ladies outside doing their hair. No shops were open. No kids playing in the dirt. Silence. It was like a ghost town. All you could hear was the commentator of the World Cup.

We were driving in a matatu and any time the vehicle slowed down, you could hear the latest game update on a TV station or radio playing somewhere in the streets. We passed bar after bar with huge crowds of people huddled around the TV screen. People's schedule's have changed. A local school has started classes earlier so they can be home to watch the game. Shops are closing early. Kids are now staying up until 11pm which is when the last game ends. Evenings are now dedicated solely to watching games.

TV sales have increased. People want their own TV to watch every game.

The other night, the power went out just as USA vs. England game was about to start. As it went out, you could hear the entire community go "aww!" Everyone started calling Kenya power immediately. The power was back within minutes.

I have lost many of my friends to the World Cup. If I want to see them, I have to watch the games as well. Or else I would never get to see them. On our compound, come 5pm, is dead. Everyone has retreated into their houses with their eyes glued to the TV screens.

People are humming the tune of K'naan's song 'Wavin Flag' non stop. Suddenly K'naan has become a household name here. Makes me proud of the Somali born Canadian. At least Canada is somewhat represented in the World Cup. Thanks K'naan!

I just can't imagine that this is going to last for a whole month. I don't see anything getting done around here. Things move slow enough as it is around here.

So I've decided to join into the madness. Slowly, I am catching the World Cup fever.

I have yet to pick a team though. Since Canada isn't the best with their feet and isn't represented at the World Cup, I have to choose another team. Kenya would be my next choice but, like Canada, they didn't quite make the cut. At first I thought Brazil as they are a favourite to win but the compassionate side of me wants to pick an underdog. The only thing with picking the underdog is that their journey may not last long so once they are out, I have to switch teams. I thought about supporting South Africa since they are the hosts and it would be oh-so exciting if they could do well and represent their country well. But after their game against Mexico the other day, I decided against it. Part of me really wants to support all the African teams to put Africa back on the map. But after I saw the thick, wavy hair and suave suit of the Argentinian coach, Maradona, I almost thought about being a fan of Argentina. USA would be a good choice since they are my neighbours in Canada but I think they have enough fans already. I think I will have to take the advice of my mother and chose a team based on the colour of their jerseys.

It's an exciting time. I am proud of South Africa. It's the first time the World Cup has been on African soil. It's a great time for Africa. You can sense people's pride here. Africa is finally being profiled in a positive way.

So it's a blessing, even if life has literally come to a halt to tune into the World Cup 2010.

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