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  • Writer's pictureRCS Ottawa

Escaping Kakuma


Two teams fought to a nil-nil draw in regulation, dust puffing around their feet like flint smoke as they ran. The shootout begins after Kakuma’s 6 p.m. curfew. Four thousand or so fans push in from the sidelines to form a human outline of the penalty box. Every minute past curfew means greater likelihood that there will be repercussions from police.

Night falls fast in Kenya. Men with sticks swat at children to get back. After the score is tied in the fifth set of penalty kicks — both goals — a fan yells, “They can’t see!” As I stand at the edge of the box, the full weight of the crowd leans in behind me.

The best scorer in the league smashes a penalty into the left of the net on the first attempt of sudden death. It should have won the match.


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