So its been a while since I've posted. I just don't have the time or motivation to update this blog more than once a fortnight. I wonder sometimes how life is going back home, we have become so out of touch with the news that when I get home it will be like a caveman arriving in the 21st century. Anyway the round up of my last 2 weeks begins below continuing from Monday the 13th of Feb.
Monday. This was the last time I updated my blog, however I updated it early in the day meaning you have not read about the football tournament I was apart of. You see Across and the students at the Yei Teacher Training College (YTTC) have a football tournament which consists of 4 teams and 6 games every year I think although I imagine the number of games and teams change from year to year. Anyway they wanted me to play in the first game against the In-service students team whom we beat rather soundly 5-2. I had the fortune to score the goal that pulled us back into the lead and also the one after, ending as the top scorer for the game. Our second game in this tournament was a disappointing 3-3 draw in which I did not score and we all felt the referee was biased and made some very poor calls. Our third and final game was a final of sorts with the winner taking the trophy and goat, yes a goat, as the prize for winning. We were beaten 3-0. I hope the goat tasted nice, the students earned it. The day after this first game saw my team play their first proper game (Fly Sports kids). We went down gut-wrenchingly 3-2 to a team who didn't deserve to win and felt the referee (who works for FS) was biased against us so that the other team wouldn't complain about the referee. The kids looked like someone in their family had died they were so quiet and almost in tears (kids don't cry here unless they are still babies). Our final group stage game was Friday which was essentially a must win in order to be guaranteed qualification. We drew. A second game in a row my team had a 1-0 lead at half time and blew it away, ending 1-1. Fortunately for us other results went our way and we qualified second on goal difference, meaning a very tough quarter-final match against the highly fancied Yei Central who were viewed by many as one of the teams to take the competition. We beat them. A performance from my team worthy of a final. They worked extremely hard and exhausted themselves with all the running and hard work. For a third game straight we lead at halftime 1-0. For a third game straight the other team equalised, it was like a sucker punch late in the game. This meant extra-time which didn't provide any goals. Penalties followed. I know this kids league is not like the World Cup or anything but penalties are extremely nerve-racking for a coach. I sympathise for those that have been through it for World-cups, etc. At 3-3 after three penalties each I was fervently praying our goalkeeper would pull some magic out of the bag and make a save or that the opponent would fluff it. He fluffed it and hit the post. We knew this was our opportunity and with our fourth and their fifth player both scoring all that was required was for our fifth taker to slot it home, which he did calmly. Cue the massive celebrations from the team, hugging, shouting, joy. I was proud of the team because I knew we had passed a massive hurdle and technically recorded our first win. Not only that but had knocked out one of the favourites. Like Zambia beating Ghana in the AFCON Semi-finals I told my team. Yesterday (Monday 27th Feb) we played our semi-final match against Pro-Inter. A team run by an ex-player from the Ugandan Premier League as I later found out. A penalty and a goalkeeping howler were enough for my team to book a 2-0 win and place in the final this Saturday 3rd March to much jubilation. The other semi-final takes place tomorrow with a team who has won every game so far (the other favourite to take the tournament) playing a team who twice came from two goals down to win 7-6 on penalties, after full time and extra time saw the game finish 4-4. That's all from the football front for now.
Going back to the week beginning Monday 13th. This week Emmanuel and I visited Jigomoni primary school with the prospect of beginning the salt and light discipleship there. That day was also one of the hottest for a while and I felt quite dizzy and faint for most of the day despite drinking lots and keeping my salt and sugar levels up, apparently this means the rains are coming. Speaking of rains we had our first bit of rain in Yei on Saturday just passed and also on Sunday. Sunday not only had rain but much thunder and even lightning which arced horizontally across the sky. This made the temperature drop significantly and for the first time I even felt cold (it was probably in the high 20s-low 30s). Its funny how quick you adjust to the temperature here even though its so much hotter than NZ.On
On the 18th of Feb we had a get together of all Pioneers staff in Yei at the Perry's house at Harvesters not too far from where we are staying. They have 8 kids living with them (9 total I think) and the biggest dining room table you've ever seen. Not only this but they had running water and a flush toilet! This was so amazing it bordered on excitement for mum and I. How ludicrous does that seem to those of you living in the West? Maybe you should just be thankful for what you have. Even the "poor" in NZ are rich in comparison to many living here. We had an awesome lunch too, it was a pretty good day.
Week beginning Monday 20th. Monday began with an early visit to Kanjoro primary school with Emmanuel advertising our Salt and Light Discipleship programme to the assembly of kids. About 1300 or so of them. Now when you think of assembly you probably think of a big hall with seats in them or kids sitting on the floor with the principal standing on stage behind a lecturn. Wrong. They would all stand outside with the principal in the middle on a concrete block with steps. Pretty basic. I spoke and asked them to raise their hand if they knew where NZ was. Deadly silence and not a hand raised. Either they didn't understand me or just as likely none of them knew where it was. Most seem to think its in Europe somewhere. It seems funny that many people I talk to about my country seem to know where Australia is and never notice NZ sitting next to it. At least this makes it easy to explain where Im from. Another thing here that never ceases to amuse me is the locals' complete inability to accurately guess my age. I have had many guesses ranging from the youngest guess as 20 to the oldest guess being even 30! When I tell them I'm 18 they say that I'm lying and they don't believe me, its quite funny. I think its because we eat so well in the west that we grow a lot more than they do. Many nof them would only have 1 meal a day. Compared to our 3, or 5...
On Tuesday 21st mum and I had our first skype session with video even. I didn't think the internet would be quick enough to handle this but it managed. We skyped Joel Edwards and Janette McKevitt for the Sunday missions themed church service back home. It was really nice to talk to some familiar people and see some familiar faces. Also skyped Courteney and Jono that day/week. If my other mates are reading this get skype so we can chat! I feel so out of the loop with everything at the moment. Although this was a great encouragement and made my week, we (FS) found out we're on the chopping block so the need for funding is urgent. In response to this we have made many applications and got one positive response back from Samaritan's Purse, which we are pursuing, and praying over.
I have been a bit unwell recently catching a bit of a cold. I know, the irony. So if you could pray for me in that regard and also for Fly Sports to receive funding so that we can continue our work in Yei and also hopefully expand to Boma that would be awesome. Hope all of you reading this are well and that the weather has fined up a bit in Wellington. If I could share some of the heat and sunshine from here then I definitely would :)
God Bless, Joel