Posted by: tim ellis | July 15, 2007

Sunday July 1, 2007

Supposedly the first football match is at 10:00 today, but it is little surprise that when we arrive at the camp house for 10 what we actually get is the Scout band playing and dancing, the local women dancing traditional dances (joined by the scouts and accompanied by the band) and the scouts marching, dancing and singing. Indeed there seems little interest in playing football at all!

We are called into a discussion with the contractors working on the Camp House, during which costs seem to escalate as additional items are considered. The Gambian way is that the contractors only hire out their labour, so all the materials, transport etc. is an additional expense. We (by which I really mean Spook) explain to Baboucarr how much we are prepared to give him, and that it will be spread out in equal quarterly payments – this then sparks off another round of discussion as to whether he should first buy a second hand vehicle, which can both transport (some of the) materials to the site and work as a taxi, providing an income stream (like the bakery should) to cover the incidental costs of the work.

More waiting about ensues, during which we are fed fresh bakery bread, local caught fish and a reprise of yesterdays potatoes and omelette, before, finally it is time for football. The first game is he postponed girls match from yesterday, 8th Kombo vs the village girls. They play one 15 minute session ending in a nil-nil draw (The problem is both sides play like a bunch of girls!)

We had been led to believe the other match was to be the cubs (which didn’t promise much of an improvement) but turned out to be much the same 8th Kombo team as yesterday (but now in the Liverpool away kit) vs the National Scout Band (in the Arsenal kit). The 8th have most of the play, and miss a couple of good chances while the band manage a lucky goal when the keeper is caught off his line, leaving the goal open. This is the only goal of the match, which ends with a 1-0 defeat for the 8th Kombo.

We aren’t supposed to be hanging around afterwards as the scouts are leaving too, but not all the vehicles have turned up , so we end up waiting while Baboucarr sorts that out, which, together with a couple of police checkpoints that we have to show we are scouts at again makes it around 10:00pm when we arrive back. On the plus side we have persuaded Baboucarr that there is no point in us going back to the camp house tomorrow for a meeting with the contractors, as we met them today and have nothing else to tell them, so tomorrow we get to relax and enjoy our 5 star hotel (We’ve been here nearly a week and haven’t seen the pool yet!)

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