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February 14, 2010

Football Fever

It has been football (a.k.a soccer) fever around here! Angola just finished hosting the Africa Cup of Nations right here in Luanda. We did not go to any of the games, but we still got to join in on the fun. One thing I noticed and love is that there was a real sense of team spirit and country pride evident all over town. Cashiers at the grocery store wore jerseys, people had Angola flags hanging out of their car windows, and vendors were lined up on the streets selling Angola souvenirs. For a country that is still picking up the pieces from having just ended a Civil War here a little over a decade ago, it was great to see the unified atmosphere.
Unfortunately, Angola lost in the quarter-finals and even more unfortunately, 2 members of the Togo Soccer Team were killed in Angola on their way to the tournament. The bus was attacked by a group of Rebels living in a province of Angola called Cabinda, which lies between the borders of the country of Congo and the country of Angola. The Rebels tried, unsuccessfully, to fight for their independence from Angola for several decades, and entered a ceasefire in 2006, but hostility still remains there. The area where the shooting took place is hours away from here (it is only 6 miles from the Angola border), so we are nowhere near the tension, but it saddens me that the Rebels attack created a negative impression on the entire country of Angola.