In Europe, you can discuss the World Cup in Dakar all you want. We can devise strategies of ignorance or watch the World Cup in secret. We can act out World Cup shame or point the finger of blame at Qatar.
And in Tunisia, you can simply observe how none of that matters here. Every café, every restaurant "delights" its guests on several TV screens with maximum volume and men constantly chasing the ball.
We're sitting in Felix, just thinking about where we're going tomorrow, when we hear a deafening shout from a thousand throats. Gerd immediately checks his mobile phone to see that Tunisia is playing today. Aha, so much for ignoring the World Cup.
So we stow away our travel guide (which can also be looked at later) and head for a harbour restaurant full of Tunisians and a few French. Here they are cheering side by side: the Tunisians for Tunisia, the French (presumably?) for France.
When the goal is scored for Tunisia, we experience an earthquake-like man-made firework of joy. Flags are waving, women and men are jumping on tables and chairs and are in a frenzy. The few French remain silent. We are happy for Tunisia. What else?
Then, shortly before the end, France scored the equaliser. Silence. The few French applaud cautiously. When the referee signalled with his typical hand signal that he wanted to make a video check, all the Tunisians went crazy: they were celebrating as if that was the decision. A little later, the goal is disallowed, and the joy is immense. Tunisia has won.
The fact that they didn't get any further is completely irrelevant at this moment, at least in the port of Hammamet.
For us, it is always a wonderful moment to immerse ourselves in the human encounters in other countries. Seeing people rejoicing and in joy is a beautiful energy everywhere. We soak it up, store it in our hearts and simply take it with us.
News #1 On 24 June we will give a talk about our trip in the van in Konolfingen, Bern, Switzerland. All info and the possibility to Registration here. We look forward to seeing you!
News #2 I am currently writing a book about the encounters on our journey. If you would like to test-read a chapter or two this summer, please contact me by email.
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