“My dad’s 51 and mainly grows and sells bananas. He’s had seven children with two different women… my mum passed away in 2001, at the age of just 33 while I was still in primary school. I don’t really remember her, as I lived with my grandma from the age of 2 to 5 before moving to town to stay with my uncle in town, where I went to school until the age of 14. My uncle has been the biggest inspiration in my life; he showed me how to live in our society. Both he and my aunt, who I see as a mum, produce and sell manioc.
I now live with my wife and son, who’s one and a half years old. I hope that he’ll become ‘someone’ and that he finds a job to support his family. My wife works on the farm and also produces traditional clothes to sell to the villagers. I met her 3 years ago at a football pitch after one of my matches – she had been working in the village selling her clothes and just went to watch the football afterwards. She was very pretty so I went up to her and said hello! We didn’t live in the same place back then so used to just meet at the weekends when we could get to a village in the middle, and slowly got closer and closer over time.
I’ve played football for a very long time – I always preferred it to going to school. I used to dream that I’d be a superstar footballer. Unfortunately you have to have a lot of money to join the big clubs and train with them – which my family didn’t have. Now I just play for my health. I find that if you are stressed out, you can just play football and everything gets better. Often it can be difficult for poor people here to have many friends – unless you play football. I’ve now competed in many football tournaments, which means I know people everywhere – in town and in various villages. My friends just come and find me and I play with them; we play every day when we can. I also organised a children’s football tournament last summer because I wanted to bring them together, live with them a bit and animate the village. I’d like to organise more tournaments in the future!
My wife also plays football too with other women in the village. Certain men don’t like seeing women playing football – I’m not sure why, maybe they get jealous seeing their wives going off to other villages to play in tournaments. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not a problem. Everyone should be able to live their life as they wish – the women should be able to have their liberty.”