As you may have heard, Kentucky center Jared Carter will be playing basketball in Africa this summer as a member of the Athletes in Action. Luckily for us, he is a huge fan of the site and offered to blog his experiences as he tours around Africa dunking on future Hakeem Olajuwon’s. This is his first entry*:
Greetings from Cameroon!
This being my first trip to Africa and all, I really didn’t know what to expect. Would I see elephants? Would I die of thirst? Would I hear Toto? After two days here on the continent, I’ve seen slain elephant heads, I am rather thirsty, and there’s no sign of these “blessed rains.” But it’s pretty cool. I’m really just trying to fit in, which is pretty easy.
A lot of people were asking before I left why I chose to spend part of my summer ballin’ around Africa. With all the violence, disease, poverty, and laughing hyenas. And that’s a really good question, I suppose Coach G is the only one with the answer. But I’m here, and I’m going to make the best of it and hopefully improve my skill set, as well as my immune system.
Sometimes, it can get pretty tense. While Cameroon is a relatively stable country, there is still a lot of poverty and corruption. A machine gun wielding guard at the Cameroon Airport cornered me when we got off the plane and questioned me for about ten minutes. There was some confusion, but after I explained that I was neither the blood-thirsty jewelry store owner, the annoying Subway spokesman, nor Sean Bradley, he let me join the others.
Our schedule is somewhat tentative right now, but thus far it’s been pretty easy. We practice early in the morning before the tsetse flies feed; then it’s over to the market for yam kabobs. After lunch we get a few hours to study or explore the town before we pile into the local gym to do what we do: ball.
Last night, the gym was standing room only. I’m not sure why they don’t have any bleachers or chairs, but I guess the locals don’t mind standing. We played the Shakaka’s, a group of former soccer players from the Senegal. I asked the fellow I was guarding if he knew Jules Camara. He said the Senegal has over 12,000,000 people, and that the odds of knowing the same person just because they are from the same country are pretty long. It made me feel like I was 6’7”. I too hate when people ask me if I know Joe “so-and-so” from Georgetown, or Sally “this-and-that” from UK, but I’m just looking for a connection here at the other end of the world. It’s cool though, I put up 26 and 12 on his inhospitable ass.
I’ll have more to come later, including the details behind my first porcupine slaughtering, and busting out the Soulja Boy at Club 1991. Gotta go practice! Peace!