We’ve been practicing softball for quite a while now, but with the exception of a few innings of “half field” (where because you are short people, you can only hit to one side of second base) we haven’t played any games. Until now.
This past Saturday the Japanese Embassy came out to play. When I heard that, I had visions of that scene from the movie “Gung Ho!” where the Japanese management of the auto plant come out and whip the overconfident Americans. Not that we were overconfident. Not at all. I just expected very little from our team in our first real game, and for some of the Beninese members, the first time they had ever played in a game.
Shockingly, we won. No photos (there may be some later) because the batteries on my camera died. The teams were equally matched, which is to say we all had more enthusiasm than talent. But after six innings (we played to a 6pm curfew so we could get to happy hour) our collection of Americans, Beninese and one Israeli came out on top.
The field was in worse shape than usual because they’ve started soil testing for the new embassy, so we had to move it over from where it usually sits. But, we did manage to get the backstop up for the first time. There were a few cases of people forgetting to run because they didn’t know the rules (when you’ve done nothing but take batting practice, that “running to first base” thing can be confusing, but all in all a good time was had by all, after which we headed off to Happy Hour where another good time was had by all.
Over in the right column of the blog you’ll see a new link. It’s a countdown to when I leave Benin. As I write this, around 65 days. It will be a busy 65 days. I have two new staff members (including my replacement) to transition into the consular section. We’re in a very busy part of the year for visas, both non-immigrant and immigrant. Students are headed off to college, and the Diversity Visa program runs on a federal fiscal year basis, so 2011 ends in September. And I need to think about things like packing out and making my reservations to head home.
I leave at the end of August, and don’t arrive in Ottawa until the end of January. I’ll explain what I’ll be doing with my time back in the U.S. next time around.