It’s Friday evening at the end of a 100 degree day and I am walking into a stifling room-full of un-deodorized men and boys glued to one of the few TV screens in the region. As the only female present, and a white person on top of that, they find me a chair right in the middle so that I can have a good view of the TV, but unfortunately also get the full effect if the temperature and etc. Yes I’m hot, there is sweat running down my belly and back. We are watching the Ghana U20 (under 20 yrs old) football/soccer team vying for the world title in the final game against Brazil.
Most of Ghana’s 25 million citizens have cheered every Ghanaian goal on the way to the finals, a roar we can easily hear from our room on the hill near central Kongo. In our sleeping quarters at half time, we are certain that Ghana has not scored due to the dead quiet throughout the village during the prior hour. We now head toward the nearest TV (which happens to be at the clinic where I volunteer) for the the last 30 minutes of the 2nd half. We know it will be hot, stuffy, crowded, and pungent, but are confident we can endure for 30 minutes. But guess what, after 30 minutes the score is 0-0 at the end of regulation play. After an extra 30 minutes of playing to break the tie, the score remains at 0-0. Now for the shootout – did I mention that I have been sitting in a barely ventilated room in the middle of fifty enthusiastic, sweaty football fans for over an hour now? At this exciting, and sweltering, moment, with everyone sitting on the edge of their bench in anticipation, the TV reception goes all to heck. Amidst static and moving shades of gray, we discern that Ghana is the first to miss a kick. The angst of it all! But alas, somehow Brazil also misses a kick, and though we can barely hear or see a thing on the T.V., in the end it seems GHANA WINS. The jubilation starts, I notice that David and I are not the only ones in a hurry to head for the door to gulp some fresh air. And then its home to a blissfully cold shower and a restful, if rather warm, night under our mosquito net and ceiling fan.