2007.02.07: February 7, 2007: Headlines: COS - Ghana: Sports: Football: The San Luis Obispo Tribune: Peace Corps Volunteer Michael Humes has a Super Bowl party in Ghana

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Ghana: Peace Corps Ghana : The Peace Corps in Ghana: 2007.02.07: February 7, 2007: Headlines: COS - Ghana: Sports: Football: The San Luis Obispo Tribune: Peace Corps Volunteer Michael Humes has a Super Bowl party in Ghana

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Peace Corps Volunteer Michael Humes has a Super Bowl party in Ghana

Peace Corps Volunteer Michael Humes has a Super Bowl party in Ghana

So on Sunday, at 11 p.m. Tamale time, in his small peach-colored house at the end of a bumpy, unpaved road, he gathered together 15 American friends to watch the Super Bowl, perhaps the most important game in the most quintessentially American sport. In place of chicken wings, Humes served local Guinea fowl with Ghanaian hot sauce. He stacked bottles of beer - all local Ghanaian brands - in a cooler in the dining room. I didn't even know it was Super Bowl Sunday until a few days ago," said Janell Stewart, 24, a Peace Corps volunteer from Pelican Rapids, Minn., who is working in an isolated village a full day day's journey from the closest Internet connection. Yet many Americans - even those who don't follow football - said they yearned to see the game. "When you are away from home, you're just looking for anything familiar," said Peter DiCampo, 23, another Peace Corps volunteer from Mendon, Mass. Guests crowded on the sofa and popped open beers. Aside from the electricity - which kept blinking, and the television signal - which went out during the first quarter, watching the game in Ghana was almost as good as watching it from home. The few local Ghanaians who attended the party seemed perplexed by the sport.

Peace Corps Volunteer Michael Humes has a Super Bowl party in Ghana

Guinea fowl and Ghanaian beer: A Super Bowl party a world away

By Colleen Mastony

Chicago Tribune

(MCT)

Caption: Chicago Bears fan Bill Lynn (R) covers his face in the rain during the NFL's Super Bowl XLI football game between the Bears and the Indianapolis Colts in Miami, Florida February 4, 2007. REUTERS/Kyle Carter

TAMALE, Ghana - A Bears fan went shopping in the busy market square in Tamale last week, walking amid the cacophony of street vendors and shoppers haggling over everything from live chickens to bowls made of dried gourds.

Amid the dusty lanes of this town, Michael Humes was a Midwestern man facing an unusual mission: preparing a Super Bowl party for a small group of Americans living and working amid the mud huts and thatched roofs of West Africa - a place where most locals have never seen a football game, and even fewer know the difference between a Chicago Bear and a an Indianapolis Colt.

In the market, Humes, 27, a health worker from Ann Arbor, Mich., walked straight to the stands selling second-hand clothing. "I scoured the market for anything: a used Bears or Bulls T-shirt." Heck, he would have settled for a Colts shirt. But he found nothing and returned to work empty-handed.

"The weather and the dusty roads you can get used to, but you miss going to see a football game and having a cold beer," said Humes, who has lived in West Africa for four years.

"You miss your culture and the things you grew up with."

So on Sunday, at 11 p.m. Tamale time, in his small peach-colored house at the end of a bumpy, unpaved road, he gathered together 15 American friends to watch the Super Bowl, perhaps the most important game in the most quintessentially American sport. In place of chicken wings, Humes served local Guinea fowl with Ghanaian hot sauce. He stacked bottles of beer - all local Ghanaian brands - in a cooler in the dining room.

Half a world away from Bears-blitzed Chicago, Ghana remained in a Super Bowl blackout. This is a country obsessed with soccer but oblivious to American football.

"I didn't even know it was Super Bowl Sunday until a few days ago," said Janell Stewart, 24, a Peace Corps volunteer from Pelican Rapids, Minn., who is working in an isolated village a full day day's journey from the closest Internet connection. Yet many Americans - even those who don't follow football - said they yearned to see the game.

"When you are away from home, you're just looking for anything familiar," said Peter DiCampo, 23, another Peace Corps volunteer from Mendon, Mass. Guests crowded on the sofa and popped open beers. Aside from the electricity - which kept blinking, and the television signal - which went out during the first quarter, watching the game in Ghana was almost as good as watching it from home. The few local Ghanaians who attended the party seemed perplexed by the sport.

Kamil Iddrisu, 29, had trouble understanding the scoring, but said he delighted to see the players pile on top of one another.

In far corners of the world, the Super Bowl tends to draw Americans together. Nearly everyone at the party could recall watching the game from a foreign place in previous years. "I lived in United Arab Emirates, and we watched at 3 a.m. and ate breakfast during the game," said Jill Morse, 20, who was studying abroad for college credit. By In Tamale by 3 a.m., when the game ended, the party guests had thinned out, and those who remained were beginning to fall asleep. Some had gone home. One woman lay down on the floor.

Even Humes - the host - had trouble keeping his eyes open. "We introduced our Ghanian colleagues to football," he said. In that sense, nearly 6,000 miles from Chicago - the party had been a success, even if the his team from home had lost.

---

© 2007, Chicago Tribune.




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Story Source: The San Luis Obispo Tribune

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Ghana; Sports; Football

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