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Diary of a Volunteer





Feb 1997
Jan 1997
Dec 1996
Nov 1996
Oct 1996
Sept 1996
Aug 1996
July 1996
June 1996
May 1996
April 1996
March 1996
Feb 1996
Jan 1996
Nov 1995
Oct 1995
Sept 1995
Aug 1995
July 1995
June 1995
May 1995
April 1995

Football! Football! Football!

Football Fantasies...
I played against the Malawi national football team More...More

Fraü Hoener Saves Day!
(But it almost didn't
happen!) More...More

My (Half-time) Rant
More dodgy poetry More...More

Fishermen's Tales (II)
More incredible football stories! More...More


May 1996

'Merlin Wizards' Team Photo

Did I tell you about the day I played 5 hours of football, non-stop? Did I tell you how we came back from 7-1 down to win 8-7? Or what about the day we beat the Malawi national team 6-5?

Football Fantasies and Other Fisherman's Tales

THE TEAM I played for was called Merlin Wizards. The team we were playing was simply called Malawi; that is, the Malawi national team. Yes, believe it or not, on Saturday 18th May I actually played against Malawi. So I suppose you want to know how we fared...

...Well, whilst we stretched our muscles or jumped on the spot, they limbered up in synchrony. Whilst our ages ranged from 19 to 50 plus, they were all early 20s. Whilst the butterflies feasted on all our bellies, they prepared for a 'run-about'. (You want more?)

...We were inept (or made to look so), and they just couldn't score goals! Every time we neared our opponents, the ball repelled away. And every time we passed the ball, it was feebly given back to them! Never have I ball-watched so avidly, or chased shadows with such vigour! (Surely, you get the picture?)

...They had time, and we had hustle. They had space, and we had overcrowding. In football parlance: we were outplayed in every department! (Our goalkeeper played a blinder, though!)

So how did we get on? (You're an insistent one aren't you?) Well, we didn't beat them 6-5! We didn't actually beat them. We didn't actually score! Okay, we lost 5-0! (It just sounded as if we beat them 6-5, afterwards at the bar!) Anyway, five-nil is not so bad, against the national team!

I didn't enjoy myself, however! An occasion to cherish, became an embarrassment of ineptitude! I think I beat a player twice, and fired a single 'shot' at goal. (Still, it gave their goalkeeper something to do for a few minutes!)

And still, it's something to write home about (as you now know). 2 weeks later, I don't feel quite so depressed! After all, what do you expect from a team called the Wizards!?

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Fraü Hoener Saves the Day

AS A postscript to the tale above, let me introduce Fraü Hoener. She is the wife of Herr Hoener, the technical football coach to Malawi. (It was he who had allowed our football match to happen.) It was she who had come to watch us.

Imagine her shock then, to be told that the game had been cancelled. Only hours earlier - and with Herr Hoener a thousand miles away - the Malawi players had decided instead to attend a wedding. (But could they still come for their free meal - promised them for after the game!!)

Disappointment and shrugged shoulders were our responses. Fraü Hoener, however - a formidable Fraü - stormed out in search of a football team. They had promised to play, so they would play!

Now in Malawi, it is very easy for something not to get done. Earnest intentions are so easily disturbed by any number of obstacles (never mind the intentions of the insincere, or the 'do it later' brigade). As far as I was concerned, no team so no game!

Call it German Efficiency, or a refusal to take nonsense, but the girl Hoener done good! She rounded them up - the Malawi national team - and delivered them to us, on time. And we smiled, and we laughed. (And then we got soundly thrashed, but that's not the point!)

It was something to behold, I can tell you.

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(My) Half-time Rant

 DON'T laugh at me when I walk beside you!
  Don't giggle at the freak!
 And please stop staring
	at my pale and sallow cheek.

 DON'T ask me how I am, or even talk to me!
 Don't prod me with your "Hello!"
 And don't call me Bwana
	- I'm not your boss, y'know.

 DON'T ask me for 'my money', or for anything!
 Don't ask the millionaire!
 And please don't charge me so much
	for your avocado pears! 

(A list of things that irritate would not be complete without my commenting on Malawian males' propensity to pee anywhere BUT a toilet. And I really hate it when I get mistaken for someone that looks completely different to me, apart from the colour of their skin!

Obviously, there are lots of positive aspects to life in Malawi; but right now, I just don't want to talk about them.)

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Fisherman's Tales (II)

WE PLAYED nearly two hours of intense five-a-side football, on a baking day! We had no substitutes. We just had seven teams to play, and seven teams to beat! If we got tired, tough! - play on! If we got sore, tough! - rub down! If we got angry, tough! - it's just a game (and she's not a footballer!).

Just a fun Saturday, of mixed 5-a-side!

And Sunday we played against Liwonde -11-a-side, no substitutes. We had leaden legs. We had fatigue in our blood! We had to win! (We were 3-1 down at half-time.) WE HAD TO STOP MISSING SUCH GLARING CHANCES. We did. We scored. We scored again, and again. We won 4-3 (but we still got angry, and our opponents were footballers). We had some beers, then straight to bed.

Just a fun Sunday of social football!


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