Our last day in Iringa was full of many lasts. Last Swahili class, last day to buy sweet sweet chocolate from the duka on the corner of the University, final presentations, and last day in Ilula for the final soccer tournament.
The final tournament can best be described as organized chaos - just the way we like it here in Tanzania. We arrived in Ilula ready with many prizes to award the tournament teams that we have been coaching for the past two weeks: soccer balls, bottles upon bottles of water, and of course, three goats for the three winning teams.
We planned the tournament to begin at 2:00 pm but Swahili time was kicked into full gear with most of the teams not arriving until close to 4:00 pm and one of the primary schools just not showing up at all. The tournament begin with Nyalumbu Secondary School playing Kiheka Secondary School. Our CIEE girls were excellent referees as the game became confusing when more girls from the teams showed up and were swapping jerseys. The girls utilized teamwork to get the job done. Nyalumbu scored a goal in the second half to take the victory (and the winning goat) with a final score of 1-0.
As we awaited the arrival of the second primary school, it was now time for FDC (Folk Development College) to play us! Of course, playing against the FDC was both fun and challenging as we wanted them to win the goat (what we would do with it anyway?!) but also have a group full of competitive athletes. As FDC scores their first goal the crowd surrounding the field became larger and louder. It was as if the entire village had come out to watch their girls. The final score was 3-0 with FDC taking the victory. However, all of the girls left the field with smiles as the CIEE girls had been itching to play in a scrimmage the entire time we have been here.
As the second primary school never arrived at the tournament, Ikuvala became the winners without even having to play. As we headed into the award ceremonies everything became a bit more chaotic. Soccer balls were awarded to all of the teams who participated and then we moved onto the prizes for the winners: the goats! When the goats were awarded the teams became so excited: telling, running around, lifting up the goats, and singing songs (pictures in the gallery). This was something the CIEE girls were not expecting and all our group members had different reactions to what was taking place.
All in all, it was an extremely successful tournament and it was a great way to wrap up all the coaching work we have been doing with the schools in Ilula. The girls really enjoyed the experience and although some were upset because this meant our trip was nearing to a close, they spent the bus ride back playing games and chatting about how the day had went.
Yesterday, we spent our day on the bus ride from Iringa to Dar es Salaam- although it was about 15 hours long our group did what it does best: pass the time with games like Mafaia, paranoia, and truth. It was a long day but we are all ready and preparing to head home.
I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to CIEE Tanzania, my wonderful group of ten girls, and to all of our family and friends who have been keeping up with this blog for the amazing experience that has been these past three weeks. There were ups and downs along with bumps in the road, but all in all this is a trip that none of us with forget and which we are so thankful to have had the opportunity to take part in. We have learned a lot about solidarity, what meaningful and sustainable service looks like on the ground, and have come to value the collectivist culture here in Tanzania. The girls will be carrying home with them recipes of local Tanzanian food, beautiful hand made clothing, new friends, and memories that will hopefully last a lifetime.
But for now that’s all from me. Signing off one last time! Xoxo Dee and the Iringa Session 2 Girls 2018