A few weeks ago we sat at Arlanda airport awaiting to start our journey to a new country where a new culture, new challenges and new people where waiting for us. The country we were going to was Congo Brazzaville and we, the travelers were David and Martin, two ordinary guys who like to live life and play football. We went to Congo as football volunteers for eight months to live and play football with the kids there.
The trip down went well although it was a bit tough. When we arrived we were picked up at the airport by Åke who works at ASUdh and two leaders from FC Gothia. The heat struck us when we steped out at the airport’s parking lot, we began to feel that we were in Africa now.
Today, as we sit here and write this article it has been three weeks since we arrived and it is the end of September. Our time here until now has been about getting to know everything because everything about living here is completely new for us. We have been using a lot of help in the first weeks to get into everything. We have been staying in ASUdh’s premises which is the organization that the project is working through. Eventually we will move to our Congolese host families.
We have been learning french, practicing the alphabet and trying to learn the right pronunciation of french football terms. We have also been taking lessons in the Congolese culture twice a week with our teacher Mr. Abel Massengo. We are sure he knows just about everything on Congo. In addition, we are trying to get to know the city, understand which bus we should take, how to stop a taxi and how much to pay. We have even had time to watch a match between the Congo and Chad in central African championships.
We have so far only visited one of the three places where football schools are beeing conducted and it is the largest, located in M’filou. When we were there to visit, the children were still on holidays and football activities would begin again on october 15.
We are also preparing for the trip to Kimpese in early November, when one of our teams will participate in the opening ceremony of the new football school there.
We have also had time to attend the monthly meetings where we got the chance to meet with all leaders. So far we don’t know them all that well, but some of them we know a bit better.
Our first weeks here have been very good and we are confident that there will be a rewarding and exciting time for us here. So far we have not been able to meet all the Gothia-children, but of those we have met, we understand why most of the former volunteers that have been here want to return!