Apples, bananas, grapes, melons, oranges—there’s just all kinds of fruits at the buffet. There is also all kinds of meats, salads,and breads. Then there are the sweets—cakes, pies, and many types of pastries. Adam tells me that these boys have never seen or tasted apples before. Apples have to be the number one hit with the players, after they were told to keep it under control with the sweets, at least until after their games.
The Darfur United players are coming from places, refugee camps, where they live on monthly rations, and they have been receiving the same thing—bags of cereal, grains, split peas, and a few other essentials—for nine years. Think about it: eating the same thing for nine years! I’m sure the mothers and wives do all that they can to make variations from the same ingredients, but I sometimes get tired back home of having to choose where to eat from the “only” ten or fifteen same choices among our regular restaurants, each with their own extensive menus.
After practice, the players take a shower and then come downstairs to hit the buffet. I love sitting with them and talking and seeing them enjoy their food. They load their plates with interesting combinations of foods. They are not used to having this kind of abundance. In the camps, even when they do have a good plate of food in front of them, they usually will have a group of friends or family sitting around the plate with them, sharing the meal—and no cake.