Wednesday, 23 June 2010

World Cup Fever

Even when the world cup isn't on, the first question asked of someone from the UK visiting Nigeria is often "Which football team do you support?". Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United are all very popular among Nigerians, and on our street you can watch the most obscure British football games that probably wouldn't even be shown on tv in the UK. (This is probably something to do with rights... showing my ignorance of football here).

The excitement and momentousness of the first world cup held on African soil is not lost on Nigerians and the spirit here is very much one of 'Africa United'. Unfortunately last night Nigeria lost to South Korea, which means they haven't made it through the first round. But they will continue to support other African teams. When the opening match between South Africa and Mexico started I was in a workshop in Abuja, and the facilitator asked us to go outside and gather stones for an activity. This turned out to be an error as quite a few participants never made it back after being distracted by the match!

Nigeria and England's first games were both on the same day, and I watched the Nigeria game against Argentina in a crowded bar in Abuja, the room was filled with green shirts, plenty of passion and a few oyibos... here Bash refuses to take his eyes off the screen for a photo.

Unfortunately Nigeria lost, the general consesus was 'they done try-o', and there was plenty of hope for the other games.

After the game we hot footed it across town to the British Village (residence of the High Commission staff, and generously free for poor VSOs to use the pool) where they'd invited half the American embassy staff to watch the game. We scored - the Brits cheered, they scored - the Americans cheered LOUDER. Still they didn't have a baby dressed in an England flag, or this many flags... we even had party poopers with the England flag on thanks to Richard the third (there are three VSO Richards,, numbered in order of arrival).


We couldn't watch the last 10 minutes of the game due to poor tv reception, but as much as we hoped England might score when we weren't looking it wasn't to be. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for our game in five hours. 

In other news, there are four new volunteers arriving in Kaduna soon, and a new Abuja volunteer visited us last weekend to learn about how to live in Nigeria - we spent most of the time watching football, which I think she found very useful! 

I also had malaria but am now fully recovered - it's just like having flu here, but felt much scarier than that to me. Luckily Hope for the Village Child have a clinic and I was tested as soon as I felt ill, so I was able to take the treatment straight away and only suffered a bad fever on the first night. 

Have been feeling very nostalgic about Glastonbury this week and wishing I was there. More news of my house mate dancing at the Hausa theatre and earning his keep to follow soon... 


  1. Glad you've recovered and that you enjoyed Glastonbury. We left a little piece of you there.

  2. Hi Heather,

    My name is Martin and I am writing to you on behalf of a website that I am currently involved in starting up. We aim to provide prospect volunteers with all the information they need in order to feel confident in their choice of organisation, position and destination, as well as inspire people to make the jump and try out volunteering.

    As a part of that, I was wondering whether you might be interested in answering a few questions and perhaps sharing any advice you may have for people who are considering to volunteer.

    If you think you might have time to do this, I'd love to hear from you. You can reach me through, and you can view the website I'm representing at

    Thanks, and keep up your amazing work!

    Martin Jonsson