Monday, January 12, 2015

Day Five: Praying for Soccer Help

Day Five, Sunday, January 11: Praying for Soccer Help

Despite our late night last night (after leaving the festival around 11, it took about an hour and a half to get back to our hammock hut by boat), we all rolled out at 7:00am for breakfast.  About half of us decided to head to mass at the local Catholic church with Dona Odila.

The church is plain and simple, with a small congregation (about 35 not including us) and a big percussion section to support the hymns.  Things went pretty much as you would expect a mass to go, though because it was the last Sunday in the Advent season, the homily was a little longer than usual.  And during the “Sign of the Peace” portion of the service, EVERY person (except the small children) came and shook each of our hands and/or hugged us.  Dona Odila was part of the announcements at the end of the service; she talked about the community’s good fortune in having us return and then had each of us introduce ourselves. 

She further told them that we would be playing both a men’s soccer match and a women’s soccer match today in the community field and the congregation agreed to pray for us.  They know as well as we do that we will need all the help we can get.  And to offer further help, several local women volunteered to play on our team instead of their own to even up the match.  We told them that we wanted the best and fastest players, as we know we are neither of those things; they offered to do what they could. 

Those who didn’t go to church mostly worked on cleanup, especially of rain-soaked laundry after a big storm last night.  We had been warned that a storm was coming but that news didn’t convince all of us to take our hand-washed laundry off of the line before going to sleep.  Thus, some people needed to rewash (or at least re-wring) much of the laundry they had already done.  Most of us hadn’t done a great job of rinsing our things anyway, so this soaking from the sky might have been a blessing in disguise. 

We had a big lunch to prepare for soccer, including a chicken dish and a new aquatic oddity: stingray.  We like most of what they feed us here but the stingray is the biggest hit of all so far.  

Post Soccer report:

The soccer matches are over now.  The scores were 4-0 and 6-1.  And they ended up in just the way that we might have predicted.  But did you see that last number?  1?  We SCORED!!!!!  And by “we” we mean the men and by “the men” we mean JORDEN TAPPIN!!!!!  He had another very, very close shot on goal that just didn’t get inside the net. 

The women ended up playing first (two twenty minute periods) and held their own against the actual functioning Brazilian team they faced.  That is, the local women’s team that competes regionally took us on.  They, of course, have plays and formations they have practiced and it was evident from the first whistle that they weren’t messing around.  Our first goalkeeper was a local woman who played with us last year.  She watched the first two balls just roll right past the goal line and we were all a little flummoxed about whether she was “really” on our team.  She felt badly, though, and vowed that no more would get past her.  When one more got past her, another local woman offered to take her place and save us.  They scored on her too.

Our women were still proud of their performance, though, as they spent a lot more time in scoring position than our group last year did.  We showed a lot of hustle and heart, even if we couldn’t show a score other than zero.  The guys all formed a tunnel for the women to leave the field and there was much celebration all around. 

The men then played two 30-minute periods that were significantly more aggressive than the women’s match.  There weren’t a lot of fouls or physical hits but the Brazilians were quick and crafty, with triangulated plays that reminded us of the velociraptors on the original Jurassic Park film. 

Further, they could dance on top of the ball to get it out of our possession even when we thought we had total control.  Still, despite the score, our guys were not humiliated.  We showed great speed and agility, along with greater endurance than even we expected.  The Brazilians even gave us nicknames, including the Portuguese word for “mountain” for Jorden. 

We decided to dip in the river on the way home to speed up the shower situation and get ready to eat.  We needed flashlights and headlamps to find our way home and fortunately we were adequately prepared.  We busted out a secret stash of Powerade to boost our electrolytes after the tough games.  We also had a few peanut butter M&Ms and some gummy worms to finish off a lovely day.

Daily Photos

One pole in the center of the hut or Oca holds all of our hammocks. Sometimes it gets a little tight, but we’re able to make it work…..most of the time! 

Nineteen of us all sleep in a hammock hut. Sometimes we have some unexpected guests, but we always try to accommodate them…

At Anã, we hand wash all of our own clothes and hang them out in the sun to dry. Luckily, they have a washboard which we can use. On the other hand, half the time our clothes get rained on.

Hillman and Ranjay are ecstatic about the beach our new home provides us. (photo enhanced)

The average grass-hopper in the Amazon dwarfs those in the United States. This hopper is almost as big as a hand!

The calm shoreline of Anã. (photo enhanced)

Brent valiantly costing the Estados Unidos a goal to the Brasilieros.

Carlos in the wind up, while the people of Anã spectate the match

Diorlando passing the ball to an attacking Ranjay. 

Equipe Estados Unidos celebrating the goal scored by Jorden.

The Estados Unidos Women’s team taking a picture with some of the young girls of Anã.


  1. All I can do is laugh and wish I were there. The Tappin's are athletes!

  2. My kids want to come help eat gummy worms.