I woke up to a breakfast of eggs, beans and bread prepared by Evelyn’s son. She then put me on a taxi to town, giving very clear instructions to the driver on where to drop me off. We drove around the townships for a bit and only picked up a few people. Our driver signaled to another taxi, we pulled over and were instructed to change taxis, I guess cause both vehicles didn’t have many people. I had three main tasks: 1.Find a place to stay for Sunday night, I figured I’d enjoy the day more if I had security for the night. 2. Go to church 3. Try to get tickets to the Serbia Ghana match. It turned out I was fair distance away from Pretoria….the taxi wound its way through the townships and it must have been over ten miles on the highway before we reached the edges of Pretoria. While in the townships, a man and his wife got on dressed very I well, the man was holding a Bible. The taxi was jam packed, he was two benches behind me, I didn’t want to be goofy and turn around and ask him about, I was kinda out of place already. I decided if he got off when we were clearly in town, I would ask if I could join him for church. We ended up the last three on the taxi, at which point the driver turned to me and asked me where I was getting off. I had assumed the previous driver had relayed Evelyn’s message, this wasn’t the case, so I turned and asked the man with the Bible if he was going to church. He said yes and agreed to my company, so I reported back to the driver that I would get off with them. On the walk between the taxi and the church, I learned the man was in fact Pastor Washington, the shepherd of the church.
We entered a large building downtown and went into a small room on the ground floor. Church had just started, Pastor was a bit behind schedule because of a bit of car trouble, which was why he was on the taxi. Church was quite nice, good singing, sound doctrine, and a small friendly congregation. I was identified quickly in the one of these doesn’t belong game and asked to introduce myself, Pastor W. got up soon after and explained how I came to be there. There was one song in English, the rest in other languages. It was lively for having 15 people in the room. I joke (I think to myself) that half my church goes up front when our informal choir sings, in fairness it is probably only a quarter. Sometimes I’d like to be part of the choir, but I feel bad leaving the few people in the pews. Anyway, in this church it was just over half that went up to lead the singing on this occasion. I felt at home. Since I didn’t know the words of the songs, more accurately the language, I had to at least join in the dancing. I swayed to the best of my African abilities, trying to pick up accepted movements from those around me. There was a significant dance break in one of the songs, something I hope to bring back with me, but with someone else dancing. After church I spoke with a few people, there was a finance committee meeting so half the church stayed behind, another comforting similarity. One man wanted my phone number so he could call me when came to the states. I think I’ve invited about 40 people to stay with me in the US so far, hopefully not everyone comes at the same time, I may need some help from the readers out there.
We started walking as Pastor Washington gave me directions towards the stadium….one member, Abraham, was walking in that direction so he said he would guide me a bit. Abraham is a teacher, so he is off this month, so he walked me all the way to the stadium. He said he wanted to help get tickets, then help me find a place to stay….he basically took responsibility for me. We learned the only place to buy tickets was far from the stadium. This was disappointing, but we were content to watch in the nearby fan park. Ghana and Serbia both played well. I am excited about Ghana, especially the way they attack. The test the defense in every…short passes, long passes, counter attacks, crosses, off the dribble…granted their final ball was lacking, but I feel they will find it. Ghana, Serbia, and Germany are all quality sides, it’s too bad that one must go home. Everyone here is convinced Germany is among the top teams after dominating the socceroos, but I need to see more. Australia had terrible organization in the back, I don’t if I’ve ever seen a team get in behind so easily. Australia was just as bad as Germany was good. I still think it’s possible for Ghana and Serbia to go through ahead of the Germans, not too likely, but Serbia can defend well and they are capable of getting a result against the Germans, as are Ghana.
After the match, it was decided that I would just stay with Abraham. I said I was perfectly fine sleeping on a couch or floor. He said, no he has a queen size bed. I wasn’t sure why he was advocating bed sharing over other options, but I figured we’d sort it out when we arrived. It turned out the bed was the only option. Abraham lives in a room in a someone else’s small apartment. The room is exactly the width of a queen size bed and about five feet longer. The added length is where he keeps his belonging, and he still maintains a bit of floor space, I need to learn organization from this man. In an earlier conversation when he learned I was also a teacher, he enthusiastically pointed out that teachers are the most meticulous people, they must be in their planning and record keeping and so on. I agreed with his opinion, embarrassed to admit my shortcomings, but I didn’t think much of it. Seeing his living space allowed me to truly appreciate his organizational abilities. We got organized, then went to a nearby restaurant to watch the Germans dismantle the Aussies. I was dead tired by the time we got back, and fell asleep easily in the queen size bed. At some point I woke up to another man in the room. In the morning I learned it was Abraham’s cousin George who shares the bed when he has to work late. So yes< George jumped in the queen size bed as well. There was quite enough blanket for all three of us, and I think I lost the battle of the blankets. I feel they just had more experience in grasping to a share of blanket, but with a bit of practice I could compete with them. It gets cold here at night during their two winter months, and no place has heat, you just have a hot beverage and get under the blankets. Without the full blanket warmth I didn’t get much sleep.