Home bittersweet home (kind of). We had an interesting episode in our little Fulbright seminar yesterday morning. About 25 of us were scheduled to clean a park on the outskirts of DC as part of the overall program item "hands-on volunteer work". This is how it went, more or less:
8.15 Everyone is supposed to meet in the hotel lobby.
8.35 Everyone is in the lobby.
8.40 Chartered bus to do dirty work.
9.00 The park looks empty and relatively clean except for a small area around a brook which flows a few meters below everything else, among an indescribable amount of junk. The thought arises that mountaineering ropes might turn out useful if cleaning that hole is our job.
9.05 No-one else is there. The girl who works for the seminar tries desperately to contact someone (from the park department?).
9.10 One of the Germans finds a basketball.
9.11 A football game (the universal kind) is in full swing on the concrete basketball court, with improvised goal posts.
9.15 Who cares about the project? It seems obvious that English is no longer the truest common language we have.
9.20 One of the Africans mistakes his opponents for slalom flags and zigzags through their defense, showing off his technique.
9.30 I score my first goal.
9.35 One of the Germans scores his tenth (my subjective estimate). Another one gets entangled with the broken wire-net fence that lines the court. Another slips and gets his jeans dirty. The match continues.
9.40 We're down to t-shirts and sweating. No-one knows the score, or cares.
9.50 Goals. Headers from Peru, long shots from Bangladesh, half-volleys from Finland, heel taps from Ivory Coast.
10.10 We're told that nobody has been able to contact anyone relevant, and we should return to the hotel.
10.12 Chartered bus back to the world of name tags and institutional affiliations.
Tarinan tarkoitus ei ole todistaa jalkapallon hienoutta - se ei todisteluja kaipaa - vaan ihmetellä, kuinka tietyt kommunikaation muodot vain toimivat paremmin kuin toiset.