August 6, 1987

8/6/87 Kiwaiyu Island

last day on Kiwaiyu Island

Captain Athman and Omari Bob go to a wedding

For the last several nights, we could hear a lot of music, drums and singing in the village. They had been celebrating a marriage. Last night several of us were invited to join the festivities. I was completely mesmerized. With Captain Athman as our guide, we made our way through the village to an open square among many of the houses. Benches were provided for us to sit. It looked to be about five drums of varying sizes and something which made a cymbal like sound. There was no need for a light or a fire because of the moon was so bright. The palm trees were making their own sound in the gusty winds. And Venus could be seen over the trees in the night sky.

The sound now is almost deafening, and then suddenly a man jumps into the circle trying to dance to the incredible tempo. After what could only be seconds, he then points his head to someone in the circle surrounding him. The dancer is then quickly replaced by the one who was pointed at. Sometimes several people move into the circle spinning and gyrating at a break-neck speed. Women, covered with veils, seem excited to be chosen to dance. This frenzy continues till some are almost collapsing from the dancing. Then the music stops abruptly.

A man comes around with a glass and a pitcher of cold water. Some dancers are sweating profusely. After ten or twenty minutes, the whole process is repeated. I couldn’t figure out if the lyrics were the same for each song but the chants during the dance were. I knew it was going to happen, someone pointing to me to dance. I ended up spinning so fast I crashed into the women’s section of the circle. For a second I thought I had broken some social taboo by touching the women, but then they all started laughing so hysterically. In all I’d say there were fifty people in the circle and just as many spectators. By 1am, I was tired and left very pleased that I had come. I awoke about 4am to hear them still going strong.

Here I am, complete with kofia and kikoi

Most of the day was spent just passing the time. It was a special day for our crew celebrating an Islam holiday. They bought and slaughtered a goat for their feast. I spent most of the day just sitting on the beach. Most reluctantly I agreed to play in the last soccer game on Kiwaiyu. Because of injuries to some of our players and others had doubts about playing because the game had gotten serious, we barely had enough to start the game. I didn’t really like how the games with the locals had grown in importance.

I guess I really wasn’t surprised when we showed up at the field to find the entire Kiwaiyu team dressed in full team uniforms and a very good soccer ball. They won the coin toss, where they took the wind in the second half. We really didn’t have a chance. There were no easy shots on goal. All of the goals scored on me showed the depth and skill of the other team. They were miss-directed shots, quick shots, and shots up in the corner. When it was all over, we had lost 0-4.

The game did have it’s moments. The best was when Lisa, playing on the front line, took a hard shot and barely missed. I think they were surprised that a girl almost scored. I think I took it all in stride. Basically, we were out-classed and I knew it. We all just tried our best under the circumstances. Some complained at how rough the game had become, but I know soccer is a contact sport, no matter what anyone says. Plus, whether it was deliberate dirty playing or recklessness, some of our players were just as rough.