Saturday, June 12, 2010

The World Cup Begins!

World cup fever is alive and well in Rwanda. I watched the opening matches Friday at my coworker’s  house – he has a satellite, which guarantees multiple channels of varying quality to choose from. Except when the power goes out, which of course happened during the first half of the USA-England match tonight. The score was 1-0 England. We quickly tuned to a radio broadcast and immediately heard the cry, “GOAAAAAL.” But it was in Swahili, and none of us spoke Swahili, so we couldn’t discern who had scored. (My coworkers were all cheering for England.) Finally we got ahold of someone by cell phone who told us that USA had tied the game!

For the second half, we moved to a bar with a generator. Around the 60th minute, when the US had a few good chances in a row, I got a little excited and the guy next to me started cheering, “Obama! Obama!” I asked him, in Kinyarwanda, if Obama was playing football.

It started to rain. In the 87th minute, as the rain grew heavier, the satellite feed went out. I had to call and text another volunteer to find out the final result.

It sounds pretty unreliable, but the fact that I can watch at both a bar with a generator and in a private home on a $550 satellite definitely makes me privileged in Rwanda. Many are stuck huddling around radios, perhaps struggling to understand Kiswahili. Many more don’t have any way to watch or listen to “Africa’s World Cup.”

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