The team has arrived in N’Djamena and they are all in good spirits! Gabriel and I went to visit them at the compound that is their temporary home for a couple nights. We found them lounging, hiding from the hot sun, and playing cards together. It was particularly hot today. We were all dripping sweat.
Greeting the players might be one of my favorite moments. Its custom to greet each person, one by one, taking the time to shake hands with each. Shaking hands actually turns into hand holding while you exchange the “hello, how are you, I’m a fine, how are you, I’m fine, thank you, how are you, I’m fine…” No joke. It gets repetitive. But I’ve learned that the long greeting is a sign of respect. I love it. It forces you to be present and to give attention to each person. After the happy greetings, the team recapped their journey by road to N’Djamena. It must have been long and uncomfortable. They covered a lot of land, having driven from the east to the west side of the country. But with big smiles on their faces, they talked about how they really enjoyed seeing more of Chad and that all went well! Such a positive group! And also a reminder of how rare it is for them to leave their camps.
Taking advantage of their midday downtime, we captured some of the players taking turns being reporters, interviewing each other. The players asked each other about their life, about football, their thoughts on the World Football Cup and whatever else they wanted to talk about. We recorded and listened, every once in a while throwing in a question of our own. These guys never cease to amaze me with some of the remarks they make and stories they tell, which also make me realize how little I know of them and their lives. In large part due to the language barrier. But at this point I’d like nothing more than to sit and listen to each of them. Luckily we have time. Day by day, on this journey to Sweden for the World Football Cup, we will know each player a little better and hopefully you will too.
Stay tuned, we’ll be sharing some great videos and insights as the week goes on and as we countdown our departure for Sweden! #GoDu