Football Faux Pas

        The error: thinking that we could come close to competing with Kwawu Dahians in a game of what they call football and we label soccer. After a tour of a gold strip mine so boring that I wish Iíd slept through it, we match up against the Ghanaians on the villageís hilly, gravelly field with crooked pieces of wood as goals.
        Iím bleeding by a few minutes into the game. No, the Ghanaians werenít roughhousing; much to the contrary, they played so politely that they sometimes flat-out gave us the ball. It was instead my lack of coordination that caused some bloodshed: I bite it on one of many patches of gravel. No biggie: I continue to do a sorry impression of knowing how to play soccer. It was so ridiculous that, by the time I reacted enough to try taking the ball from someone, that person was a good 10 feet past me. Lowlight: I actually manage to collide with a teammate. David Beckham I am not...
        Not all on my team were as unskilled: some really athletic Ghanaians were stuck with us as ringers. In fact, we actually score first. Of course, we eventually end up losing, but not before Rachel, the only girl on our team, becomes a local celebrity by scoring a goal. Judging by the crowd of wide-eyed locals staring at us after the game, youíd think we had the 3 in the 3-2 final score. Or maybe weíre just a white-skinned spectacle:) Either way, it was the most enjoyable game of soccer Iíve ever played.
        After the game, we have a twilight walk through the village. Or mostly walk: I chase a few goats, in vain but still enjoyable. Maybe itís just because we gave them candy and balloons or look different, but these kids sure do seem to like us: at least 25 create our entourage during the walk past tiny houses with TV antennas using bamboo sticks as poles. Judging by most everyone Iíve seen in this village, poverty doesnít prevent happiness: nearly all have bright smiles for us, even the few old people who reveal gaps instead of incisors.
        We end the day making CDs containing copies of the 2,000+ pictures weíve taken. Hard to believe I fly back tomorrow night! Definitely a trip I wonít soon forget, and not just because of the soccer injury:)

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