Day 5 (Part II) June 20th
Yesterday was a big night for Cameroon. This was the day of their second match in the FIFA World Cup. They had lost their last match and needed to win this match against Denmark to still be able to remain in the tournament. The buzz before the match was pretty intense. Literally everyone was coming out to pack bars and the streets to watch the game. We went to a bar a few minutes away that had a really big flat screen TV and nice speakers as well (it was completely packed when we got there).
Watching the Cameroonians was nearly as interesting as watching the match. The crowd often (read: always) cheered even when an attempted goal was missed, so long as the kick was somewhere in the stadium they could still cheer it seemed. Every kick was met with cheers of enthusiasm. When the players made errors, there were cheers of enthusiasm. When a player got a yellow card but the replay showed the Denmark player holding his face in pain, there were cheers of enthusiasm. With this charged response to every event that could somehow be construed as a benefit for the Cameroonian team, one could barely imagine what would happen if they scored…
About 15 minutes into the match Cameroon scored; Buea nearly blew itself off the map. The roars and shouting were deafening as everyone rose to their feet (I was actually leaping in the air as well—I wanted them to win) and shouted and cheered. One man picked up the gentleman next to him (I’m still not certain if they knew each other) and lifted him onto his shoulders, both of them punching fists in the air. High fives and jubilant hugs were being given out everywhere and just as all of this started to die down they showed an instant replay of the score; the town erupted again as if seeing the score for the first time. A second and third instant replay produced the same response and I was almost hoping for it to keep going since each celebration was such fun.
Alas, they would go on to lose the match. Considering how emotional everyone was about the team’s successes, I expected an equally emotional response to the loss (perhaps not equally). Instead, though the city was definitely crushed, most seemed to take the loss pretty well. As Derrick (a good guy and friend of ours who works at HINT) put it, “Well, someone has to not make it.” Though he was obviously disappointed, he had a healthy outlook on the setback that made me really want to remember that moment.
The night was not a complete loss however. Everyone seemed intent on drowning out our sorrow in tasty cow. The beef (which is referred to simply as cow here…which makes sense much in the way that we don’t commonly refer to chicken as poultry) that is very commonly sold on the streets here is AMAZING! It’s somewhat like a shish kabob but with excellent seasoning and this crazy pepper seasoning that they put on everything. It’s called maggi but I’ll get to maggi some other time when I focus more on the food here. It was really good but I nearly got some in my eye. It really irritated my eyes so I started to rub it out. At this point Jones laughed and grabbed my hand, “Don’t touch your eyes. If you do, you will never see the stars again” he said, pointing into the sky.