Polisi Dodoma FC (2009)

Although Swahili is the main language in Tanzania, it was only adopted 40 years ago and so the older people largely speak in their tribal tongues. I’ve recently learnt a greeting in the Kigogo language and this morning I got to use it when two old women wished me good morning. Their faces lit up and they flashed toothless grins at me as I replied in the same language. I scampered off before they could say anything else which would only leave me looking dumb.

I hit a kid the other day and it’s not something I’m particularly proud of – he is only 4 but it can’t have been too hard as he didn’t cry or otherwise react other than to step away. I was giving out fruit and the kids were barging into me. I told them to stand back as I was sitting on a step and feeling claustrophobic and then this boy accidentally whacked me in the face so I shoved him back without thinking.

Oh, Teresa got a 5 year old to start smoking which is impressive. She looked out of my window and saw my young neighbour had picked up one of her cigarette butts and was imitating a smoker. Earlier Teresa also jokingly called me a shitbag and suddenly found the same girl instantly repeating ‘shitbag!’.

I think between my physical abuse and Teresa’s lessons on smoking and bad language, we have gone some way to increasing the delinquency of the nation.

One of the children found a broken radio and a broken speaker and managed to get them working. Perhaps one of them is a budding?

This is what many children use for a football. Plastic bags are bound up with string and it makes a pretty effective ball.

And still on the football theme – Simon brought out a genuine Man Utd shirt which just about made Mika’s year. We picked him to get it cos he could name the squad.

And more football. On Sunday I went to Polisi Dodoma Vs Simba. Dodoma have already been relegated and Simba needed a win to secure the equivalent of a Champions League place. At least 95% of the country support either Simba or another team called Yanga and so it was a little odd watching Polisi Dodoma play at their home stadium and yet have the crowd be cheering for the opposition.

I went with David, Israel and Luoga. The children in the village voted which two kids should come and these two won.

I’ve mentioned before about Joseph who has the mind of a child. This is the picture he drew of me which I’m really impressed by. I’m not sure from where he came up with the idea of giving me a 1940s style pencil-thin moustache but I think it adds gravitas.

This would have been a better photo had I ever actually bothered to clean my windows. I have two lizards who live in my house. They eat the bugs and so are my friends.

This boy is proudly showing his booty (and by that I mean treasure rather than his arse!)

Yesterday I held an impromptu sports day. The children had to jump from one side to the other like frogs and the winner got a tangerine. The other events included:

Tug of war. Trying to drag me away from the wall. I won.

Push-ups. Saidi won with 26 in a 30 second period.

And finally jumping. I called a halt when after 15 minutes two boys were still jumping on the spot. I didn’t really want two deaths from exhaustion hanging over my head. I find it surprising just how easy children are to entertain – given my limited knowledge of the language and my lack of experience being around children I’m yet to be bored in their presence, we always work some kind of game out.


About Imo & Tom Feilding

I'm in my 30s and work for the University of Bristol, I regularly visit Buigiri Village slapbang in the centre of Tanzania in East Africa. It is a very poor semi-desert area. I spend much of my time and money helping individuals improve their situation and I write about it on here.
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