The Visitors Play Soccer & Drive a Manual

July 3

Garth, Elna’s son, was returning home from his month long trip to the US this morning, so I rose early to move our food, suitcases, backpacks, and souvenirs out of Garth’s apartment and back into Elna’s main house. Alex, who would have preferred to sleep several more hours, assisted with the last few bags and the final check to insure we had gathered all of our things.

Once we moved into our new room and laundry was in the washing machine Alex and I “played” soccer in the yard with Mandla. The goal was comprised of two rubbish bins and I was the goalie, but Mandla didn’t like that so he decided that kicking the ball anywhere on the wall, that stretched the length of the yard, was a goal. Alex tried to teach Mandla some fundamentals of soccer

like how to kick the ball properly and that players cannot touch the ball with their hands when the ball is in play, but Mandla wanted to play his own way.

Mandla hasn’t been mentioned in any of our posts up until now, so let me give you a little background. Below Garth’s apartment, on Elna’s property, is the home of a refugee family from Zimbabwe who have an curious and often trouble-making four year old son Mandla. In the evenings when he gets home from school Mandla comes over to Elna’s to watch Cartoon Network before dinner, which is how Alex and I first met him over a month ago. He is a truly adorable kid, especially when he sings the World Cup flag song (… they call me freedom just like a waving flag, so wave your flag) with the Coca-Cola oh, oh, oh’s randomly put in throughout. Alex and I enjoying being around him, most of the time, and I think he likes having two young people who can match his energy level and play with him when he gets home from school. Like most children Mandla cant pronounce my name, so he refers to Alex and I as The Visitors.

Elna was leaving the next morning for Nigeria and wanted Alex to do a practice run driving the old white truck in the neighborhood, so soccer play came to an end. It had been awhile since Alex had driven a manual, and I wasn’t too keen on getting in the truck with him for his first loop. I thought I would let him go around the block with no one watching and then get in, but he looked disappointed that I was hesitant, so I got in and buckled my seat belt. We staled a few times, put the truck into neutral and had the to deal with the old stick shift getting stuck in certain gears, but other then that Alex did a good job for being out of practice. After several loops around the neighborhood we decided we should head back to Elna’s before the neighbors got suspicious of a white truck continually passing by and called the cops.

The rest of the day we did things around Elna’s before making dinner and watching the Spain-Paraguay game.

Its nice having several days where we don’t have to do anything. Tomorrow we are going to sleep in!!


1 thought on “The Visitors Play Soccer & Drive a Manual

  1. ciao amour

    enjoyed reading about BeitBridge and Bulwayo. I am sure the first leg was a long bus ride, and hopefully the train wasn’t tooo strenuous but I always enjoyed covering long distances over night. hope you can hear the thundering river from where ever you are staying. Forgot to ask if you get any Zambian coins or paper or Zimbabwean paper or coins to save one for me. I remember we did not get any money while there – traded my shoes for masks for Alex at the falls/Zimbabwe-side and that didn’t get me any money either. Hope you don’t have to worry tooo much about it.
    Looking forward to hearing your next posting. Delighted you can find wifi everywhere. hope you took care of your IRS signature before you left on safari.
    Have fun ~ be safe

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