One of my favorite hobbies is playing soccer and even with my busy schedule, I can always find time to kick around the ball for a bit. When the World Cup comes around, it brings my love of the game to the forefront. I thought I’d chime in on my love for the sport and how it has affected me more than in a physical sense.
During my trip to Africa, soccer turned out to be the way of communicating with some of those locals I met. We were at the Wenge Market which was actually more like an outdoor strip mall filled with small tents set up for artists to display their goods. Things like jewelry, belts, textiles, paintings, and even soccer jerseys were being sold from various tents.
Trying to haggle over prices was a bit of a challenge, just because well… I suck at it. But once the conversation turned to soccer, it’s like a whole new language was introduced. Next thing you know all the guys that were a minute ago trying to sell me this and that we’re stoked to hear I had a ball with me and jumped at the chance to kick it around. So we followed these guys through a narrow alley between huts and all of a sudden we’re in the back of the storefronts, which is where they all lived! There a people cooking, sleeping, one person is milking a cow that’s standing in the soccer field.
Well not so much field, as it was actually a dirt lot. So it was there that we first start to experience the true spirit of Tanzania. I couldn’t help but notice how moments ago these guys were so serious about selling and now they’re all smiles just kicking, passing and juggling a round ball in the intense summer heat.
Those smiles were infectious and next thing you know we were laughing, talking about their favorite players in the world, and who they’re rooting for in the World Cup. We didn’t know Swahili and they didn’t know much English, but we both spoke then the same language when it came to understanding the beautiful game of Football. So incredible!
Do you have any travel stories to share? Leave them in the comments below.