Cricket in Haiti

16 May

and we all piled into the UN convoy...

My life down here is a blur of bucket showers, rice and beans, and demanding work yielding a sledgehammer in the burning hot sun, so any distraction or break from the usual routine is more than welcome.  When I heard that one of the Australian volunteers was organizing a cricket match against some of the UN guys based nearby I jumped at the chance to join in the fun but I had no idea just what I was getting myself into.  As I piled into the back of a UN convoy truck with the help of several armed soldiers, however, I started to realize that this was not going to be your average Saturday afternoon in Haiti.

It turns out we were playing the Sri Lankans, who are based up the road for the next four months as part of the stabilization effort.  Our team consisted of a motley international crew of characters in dirty shirts and ripped-up clothes, the majority of whom didn’t even know the basic rules of cricket.  Sri Lanka, on the other hand, has won several cricket world cups and cricket is practically the national sport.  The UN team was decked out in proper uniforms and was busy practicing when we arrived.  The arrangement we had made was that we would bring the beer and they would provide the food, so being the gracious guests that we are we brought along several cases of beer and some bottles of rum.  The Sri Lankans seemed wary of drinking in front of their commander, but us hooligans had no problem drinking a few beers between bowls and running onto the pitch to give one of our team members some rum if they actually managed to catch a ball or hit a six (the equivalent of a home run in cricket).

The Sri Lankan UN team, looking very official

In return for our shenanigans, we were served cookies and cheese balls on silver platters, given seats of honor under a tent in the shade, and treated like royalty.  There were several time outs due to cows or chickens wandering across the field, and the Haitians sitting nearby seemed to think we were totally insane, but all in all I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to the sport.  As we piled back into the UN convoy, we were handed bags of French fries and cashews for our bumpy ride home and even managed to arrive back at base camp in time to eat some of the BBQ dinner we had missed out on since we went to the cricket game.  All in all, I couldn’t ask for a more amazing Saturday afternoon, and it was a much-needed break from the destruction that surrounds me and the drain of our daily routine.  After all, we only lost by 100 runs!

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2 Responses to “Cricket in Haiti”

  1. Tim Butler May 20, 2010 at 1:52 am #

    You lost by 100 runs dopey!!

    • southoftheborder May 28, 2010 at 5:36 pm #

      Ok Tim, I apologize profusely for my errors in the post. I have done my research and corrected them. You are right, cricket uses runs and not points to keep score. And you are also correct that Australia one the last Cricket World Cup and not Sri Lanka. But Sri Lanka has won a few, most recently in 1996.

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