A view from beyond the boundary

November 1st 2010

Woodlands cottage

The team have all gone thier separate ways. After all of our transport problems, the majority managed to return to Gaborone having paid over the odds for a combi arriving back in the Oasis motel at 11pm. Veronique flew home on Saturday to see her husband David before he flew off on business to Africa. Mike Stratford also flew out on Saturday, but he is spending some time in Zimbabwe coaching as well as taking in the sites at the Victoria Falls. The Reeves duo are staying behind in Botswana for another week, resting before travelling up north to Kasane and waving at Mike S from the Zambian side of the falls.

The currently dry river Tati

As the Woodlands stopover is right off the beaten track, Veronika and I had debated whether to move to lodgings nearer the centre of town, but Clement kindly found us a reliable taxi driver, Meshak, who was about the only person who was prepared to make the 7km jouney down the dirt track to fetch and carry us. He was especially brave on Monday when he came to collect us following 40mm of rain in the morning and had to spend an hour washing his car before we rang to ask him to bring us back. Woodlands Stopover has proved to be very popular with the whole team. Culinary skills and team bonding have been tested and passed with flying colours. We have helped each other out in times of need – I have personally saved Adrian from the perils of a moth in his room – and everyone’s sense of humour has sustained themselves and the team in spite of Mike Grigg’s second hand jokes.

Clement, Sabi and family

The second week in Francistown has been a great success mainly due to Clement’s sense of pride in his job as development manager for cricket in the city and his organisational skills. He has also shown how passionate he is about linking cricket to HIV / AIDS awareness, and his talk to the participants from the Francistown Centre for Education will long stick in the memory. His enthusiasm coupled with the team’s message also led to a magic moment with the children and coaches being led in a chant by one of the newly qualified teachers of ‘We love cricket, Cricket without boundaries, bowling AIDS out of Botswana’.

Some Kit 4 Africa being road tested

Finally, a huge ‘thank you’ from all of the CWB team to all of the Clement, Sabi and family sponsors and supporters who made the trip possible and to those who left comments on the blog – especially Allan’s family! Will deserves a special mention for all his hard work before and during the trip. He reminded me of a swan – calm and graceful on the surface, but putting in a lot of energy unseen by others underneath. Also thanks to Kit 4 Africa for organising kit collection before we left. We are already seeing it put to good use.

Mike Reeves

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Around Botswana in 80 combis

October 30th 2010

When ants attacked the Meerkat

Thursday saw us waking up to another beautiful day. After a very sociable breakfast we suddenly heard the sound of an engine. One look at the watch almost knocked us out – the combi was on time. Not used to this, we were not ready. Some members of the team who were in various stages of getting dressed rushed to get into the vehicle while it was available. In the last few days we’d learned that combis are a precious commodity and if it’s there, take it.

School for deaf children

We coached at a teacher training college. As soon as we arrived, the security guard jogged to lock the gate to the sports ground. That mean that we were stranded with all our kit wondering what was there to be stolen. To add to our good morning mood (some of us are not great in the morning), we were standing in what appeared to be one giant ant colony (the colony was big, the ants were tiny). We would learn in the next two days how to move constantly in order to keep the crawlies off our feet without looking like members of the Riverdance troupe.

When we were finally admitted to the sports ground, we realised that the guard was worried about leaving us alone with yet more ants and tonnes of dust. Fine. We could see his point.

Around 30 future teachers appeared in red and white track suits (must have been incredibly hot!!) ushered by one very enthusiastic lady with a very loud whistle. According to one of the Mikes ‘they looked like a Polish flag’. We swiftly got on with our coaching, but not before Veronique and then Veronika in turn had to sing their respective anthems and teachers guessed where they were from. Apparently Australia lies directly between Poland and Austria….

Blog was brought to you by Mike R

In the afternoon we coached more children at one of the Francistown schools and between us we developed the new bowling teaching style. Children and teachers bought into it and soon the whole school knew that when you bowl, you start with ‘snake bite’, carry on with ‘kung-fu master’ and finish the whole bowling action with ‘windmill’. Oh yes, and don’t forget to ‘take the bottom with you’. Those of our readers who know about cricket will see the relevance in this. Maybe.

After the coaching we stopped off in a school for deaf children. Mike S had some football shirts and shorts to give away, so there were endless photo opportunities. The children are naturally very quiet there, but boy, do they like to see themselves on the screen!

Evening meant back to our woodland home and Will with Chris and Mike G cooked. The braai (BBQ) was delicious and company great. This was our last evening as the Reeves duo were not going back to Gaborone with the team the following day.

Friday – leaving day. Despite the assurance of our driver (who didn’t drive at all because he didn’t own any of the combis that we used during our stay in Botswana) that his combi was on its way to Francistown, we started seriously thinking of Plan B. How will the team get back to Gaborone where some people were catching flights on Saturday and some on Sunday? Should we try the plane from Francistown? Or the coach that some of us took on Sunday? Maybe we can hitch hike? Some of us suggested the option of carts pulled by donkeys (they are extremely cute animals) but Will was not amused.

Yet another vehicle arrived at the Woodlands in the morning. We vaguely remembered travelling in this one before but didn’t know for sure. There had been so many… We were asked to unload all our kit at the ‘Ant ground’ again, as somebody else was going to pick us up. And our driver’s combi was obviously on its way.

While watching the future teachers coach their class mates, Veronique was bitten by an aunt. We never found out whose aunt it was as she was adamant that she meant an ant.

Water Goddess signing off...

The original departure time from Francistown to Gaborone moved from 1pm to 3pm as the transport didn’t work out and Will had to organise something else. By 2.30pm we were on our way to Woodlands to pick up the luggage. The bus would be waiting at the turn off to the bush as the driver didn’t want to drive 10 km on the dirt road. We said our goodbyes and with promises of seeing each other soon and some unpublishable (and frankly clearly jealous) remarks about the Reeves’ finally sharing a room, the team departed in another slightly familiar combi.

At 5pm a message from the team leader to the abandoned Reeves’ read: ‘Just got on the bus. Office was closing and I had to grovel’. The team finally arrived at Gaborone around 11pm on Friday.

To sum it up, we had a great time coaching the adults and children, some fab relationships have been established and we delivered as we promised to all our sponsors, family and friends. We coached in all about 64 teachers in Francistown together with around 320 children. And thanks to Will, who made sure that we had where to sleep, what to eat and how to travel).

That’s it from the two who stayed behind.

Veronika Reeves

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Tuesday and Wednesday summary

October 29th 2010

Meerkat assessing

Francistown Cricket Club

Fortunately suffering no after effects from the meal cooked in the dark by Veronique and Mike S, the team awoke to another scorching day and yet another different combi to take us to the Francistown Cricket Club. Even Mike R and Allan had recovered sufficiently and were raring to go. The ground has an astro turf wicket surrounded by a green outfield and the boundary is marked by painted tyres sunk into the dust. We waved to the pre-school children who were being taught in the pavilion, but their stern teacher soon put a stop to their excited replies.

Successful candidate

Expecting the same 23 teachers for a second day’s tutoring, we were a bit surprised to find that 31 turned up – perhaps the cricket message is spreading across Francistown. Clement, who is in charge of cricket development in Francistown, and who must be the most organised man in Botswana, cajoled and encouraged them to start on time and to get the best out of their three mornings with us. Just like on Monday, we were astonished at the quality of their coaching. It must be hard for them to learn new skills and to combine them with HIV / AIDS awareness, but they all bought into our way of coaching which involves more questioning and demonstration than telling. On Wednesday, all 31 teachers were assessed and passed the CWB course which is equivalent to the ICC Level 0 (not a very encouraging name for the first certificate.) Every candidate was given a ‘Bowling AIDS out of Botswana’ Coach T shirt with their certificate. Later at lunch time, we saw a good many of them proudly parading around the shopping centre in their new yellow attire.

On Tuesday evening, it was the Reeves’ turn to cook. Veronika wanted to create a traditional Czech goulash with the succulent local beef, but an absence of paprika soon put a stop to that idea. Instead they went for their tried and tested option of chilli con carne. Trying to out do the previous feast, Mike cooked apple crumble, but bramley apples are a bit scarce in Africa, so tasteless Granny Smith apples had to suffice. The meal was a success – nine out of ten.

Newly qualified coaches

For the past week and a half, the team had been preparing for baked beans on toast followed by Angel Delight promised by the culinary experts Meerkat and Shanks. Imagine our surprise when they produced a starter of garlic bread followed by marinated chicken with stir fried vegetables and noodles. The Angel Delight did make an appearance, but only after Allan’s home made bread and butter pudding. Nine out of ten and pressure on for Will and Chris.

Mike Reeves

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Monday blues

October 27th 2010

Early morning bread burglar

Now that we have had time to settle in our accommodation at Woodlands, just outside Francistown, here is a quick reflection of the first week in Gaborone. Things have not always gone according to plan! Will and his BCA counterpart Girish could not have done any more pre-trip planning if they had tried, but factors outside of their control such as the teachers’ strike, punctures on the ‘shouldn’t be on the road’ combi and Godfrey’s time keeping have put a spanner in the works. In spite of that, we have had some great sessions with both teachers and children, but not necessarily on the same day. We have only had the primary school teachers for a single morning in various locations which has limited the amount of tutoring that we can do. It has been very useful for returnee teachers, but a bit rushed for new ones.

Chris and his caffeine addiction

The overwhelming positive has been the different style of our HIV / AIDS awareness messages and the way in which the whole CWB have delivered them. Last year, it was a bit of an add on at the end for the teachers, and lacking for the children. This time, the HIV messages are being introduced right from the outset and reinforced throughout the sessions. There has been a small amount of confusion as to the approach of HIV awareness with the primary school children, but Sarah, a returnee teacher from Ramotswa summed it up nicely for me. All of the children are taught about the ABC, but instead of dwelling too much on ‘C’ (condom for protection), the emphasis is on Abstinence and Be faithful. ‘C’ stands for ‘be Careful’. Just like in their school work, the children are encouraged for strive for A and B.

The 2 Vs - supposedly best sides

Our home for the next few days is Woodlands, a self catering camp site with lodges and cottages down a 7km dirt road just outside Francistown. There is a river just a the bottom, but like all rivers that we have seen, it is just a dry bed with no sign of water. At least the stagnate pools have dried up, which keeps the mosquitoes at bay even though the heat and humidity are very high. We have a two bedroom cottage and a twin bedded lodge. This has meant rearranging room mates. Veronika and Veronique are together in one room, Mike

R and Mike S are sharing another, with Will and Adrian on mattresses in the living/kitchen. Mike G, Allan and Chris are in the lodge. It has thrown up one or two very minor issues – Veronika is going to have to wear a 3XL shirt from the BCA as a night shirt; Allan and Chris are going to make doubly sure that they don’t snore and disturb Mike Griggs; there are four people trying to use one bathroom at the same time and Mike Reeves has to make sure that Veronique is decent when he wants to get the toothpaste or shampoo from his wife.

One posed photo too many

Botswana has claimed its first two victims. Mike Reeves and Allan Parker-Read were unable to join the rest of the team on Monday due to sickness. However the rest joined Clement, a Zimbabwean coach who we met last year to go to the Francistown sports club to coach 23 teachers. They proved to be very enthusiastic and we look forward to seeing them again on Tuesday and Wednesday for more tutoring leading to an assessment and certification. The media was also out in force, with journalists from three newspapers and a television crew. In the afternoon, the ‘magnificent 7’ coached 94 children including 24 children from the local School for the deaf in spite of being an hour late due to a puncture in the combi.

It was Veronique and Mike Stratford’s turn to cook dinner which was delicious and especially worthy considering they were cooking by candle light due to a power cut following a powerful storm. They have set the bar high with marks out of ten averaging 9. It would have been higher but there were no grapes or port with cheese and biscuits.
Mike Reeves

PS Apologies for the lack of blog entries and continuity, but storms which knock out the power and an inability to log on from Woodlands has meant that we have struggled to get online. Thanks to Mike and Anne, the owners of the lodge for the use of their office.

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Eat, Pray, Melt

October 26th 2010

Getting familiar with bowling

It was another night of raw experience and emotions for WM-C, myself and the Meerkat as we continue to return to our roots and kip on the floor out here in the wilds of the sub-Saharan bush. Slumber was rudely interrupted early in the morning by intruders making breakfast at the foot of the bed, but after a comfortable night tucked up in bed the European pansies were all pretty hungry.

Coaching in sign language

In a remarkable turn of events, our transport actually turned up close to the agreed time, therefore slightly reducing the risk of our team leader suffering an aneurism before we fly home. Unfortunately my communication with the big man upstairs did not get through last night, as he had failed to turn down the dial on the radiator in the sky. Balls of fire rained down from the heavens, scorching the earth and stripping energy levels to a bare minimum. Shade at the Francistown Oval is harder to find than a small piece of hay in a giant stack of needles, so our flesh was left to fry gently in the morning sun.

Will giving out T shirts to the new coaches

Luckily the morning’s coaching was a roaring success, mainly because we managed to avoid the Meerkat delivering his own brand of cultural and inter-personal awareness to the local teachers. Knowledge was imparted, minds became highly absorbent sponges and another significant barrier of defence against the monster of HIV/AIDs was constructed.

In the heat of the afternoon, I joined forces with Veronique to turn some raw African talent into world beaters, and the results were fairly solid. We looked to champion the Socratic method of teaching rather than the more formulaic approach of Aristotle, and I think the kids appreciated that. Ideas were debated back and forth, techniques were critiqued and developed, and young minds were shaped, moulded and enhanced.

Tuesday kids

The evening was spent in an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation, with the prospect of mine and Meerkat’s cooking on Wednesday night approaching like a culinary juggernaut on the horizon. When we fuse our talents, the chemistry is not unlike other great duos – Lennon and McCartney, Doherty and Barat, Pele and Garrincha etc. It promises to be an evening of laughs, tears and great sophistication.

Adrian Shankar

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On the move

October 25th 2010

Journey to Francistown

Another Godfrey’s special

Mike Stratford after a bad night

“The plan” was that we would all travel to Francistown together in Godfrey’s combi with a trailer at the back with all the kit and luggage BUT! like all best plans and despite Will’s best effort, Godfrey let us down one more time. As a result, Mike R, Veronika and I ended up making the journey in the combi loaded to the brim and the rest of the team in a coach . Godfrey tried to kill us on numerous occasions, we nearly ran out of petrol and yet he still managed to smile and amuse us with his infectious laughter.

The 5 ½ hour journey on the coach was not unlike a Wells Fargo stage coach: Indians and many other tribes, attacking bus at each stop with water, chocolate and a national dish of chicken and chips. Without a rest break, some people were found with crossed legs in cramp spaces in unbearable heat. Of the 5 ½ hours, the bus played Rod Stewart 2 hours and 46 minutes, a journey to be remembered, not easily forgotten.

Writing the blog in the luggage combi

On the way to Francistown, we passed the tropic of Capricorn, 152km from Gaborone. We also went through the towns of Malahapye and Palapye. Palapye is the crossroads to Serowe, the birthplace of the country’s first president Sir Seretse Khama, and is considered the powerhouse of Botswana as it is home to the Morupule power station. We also passed the turn-off to the mining town of Selebi-Phikwe, originally two tiny places called Selebi and Pikwe which straddled a large undiscovered deposit of copper and nickel in the area. When the mineral wealth of the area was discovered in the 1960s, a mine and township was built in the woodland between the places with the combined name of Selebi-Phikwe.

And finally we arrived to Francistown, one of the oldest towns in Botswana and site of the Southern Africa’s first gold rush. The town was named after Daniel Francis who came to Tati in the 1860’s and organised the establishment of the town through the sale of freehold stands to the public.

Veronique

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Return to Ramotswa and match at the Gaborone Oval

October 24th 2010

Coaching teachers and children

Ramotswa Return gives CWB a first in Bots,

We returned to the Magopane School in Ramotswa, a school we visited last year. It was a relief to see teachers actually waiting for us as last year the coaching candidates turned up at 10.30am rather than the 9am start time.

Will’s confidence in the day was justifiably cut short as a large coach load of children arrived just after we had begun our introduction. Luckily Will’s plan B was a lot better than Allan’s plan B of the previous day.

Deaf children

We broke into two groups, those who would assist Mike “Cant catch a cold” Griggs (the nick name will become apparent later) and those who would coach the children.

The session begun well and all seemed to be enjoying themselves but the traditional late comers arrived just after the start, which proved to a Botswana first for CWB as these children were deaf. Unlike the UK where a child hard of hearing would be given first rate treatment and hearing aids these students relied solely on sign language. Not a problem for us as we rely on silent demo’s rather than the use of speech and high fives for encouragement which allowed a very inclusive and enjoyable session.

Lunch time

Following a hearty bean lunch we kicked off the afternoon session with the coaching of 120 of the local school children. Bondy and I were on wicket keeping in preparation for tonight’s game at the Gaborone Oval. Bondy leapt in and was superb.Bearing in mind he has no experience of cricket, he has stepped up and been a real asset to the whole group.

Cricket With Lots of Boundaries.

Veronika and new friend

Despite being let down again by the combi driver, we managed to get to the Gabs Oval in true, but in true Will style, he managed to lose the toss and we were put in to bat.

The batting got off to an exiting start with Vanesh and Griggs scoring early boundaries before Griggs fell.Our star man Adrian Shankar fell early run out after an easy single was turned down by Arjun leaving Shanks stranded.

Chris Bond’s first time in the middle earned him 3 good runs, before Meerkat Parker-Read came out slashing around for the remaining 12 overs and with Will hitting a quick fire 14, the Bandits finished on 120 after 20 overs.

CWB Bandits
1. Vanesh bowled 16
2. Mike Griggs Cauaght 7
3. Arjun Menon 30 Retired not out
4. Adrian Shanks run out 1 not his fault – Botswana manager would not run
5. Chris Bond 3 Caught
6. Allan Meerkat Parker-Read 30 not out
7. Will McLaren-Clark 14
120 after 20 overs

The team leader is the one wearing the cap

Mike Stratford and Shanks opened the bowing with Meerkat taking an early slip catch to get the Bandits off to a good start. Unfortunately Will’s only mistake so far was to let Mike Griggs bowl. His first over went for 7 with a great wicket bowling Saad , but his second over was not out of the manual being smashed for 18. Surely the game for Griggs could not get any worse. You guessed wrong, dropping two easy catches, Griggs was to face a heavy fine after the game, his only saving grace was the Botswana national coach dropped an even worse dolly catch. The biggest plus of the fielding was Bondy’s wicket keeping, never done it before, but a natural.

The alleged scorers and Umpires saw themselves home with 6 balls to spare, a great night had by all despite the loss.

1. Mike Stratford 3 overs for 16 runs
2. Shanks 4 overs 2 wickets for 24 runs
3. Mike Griggs 2 overs 1 wicket for 23 runs – taken off for being tonked
4. Will 3 overs for 17 runs
5. Fez 3 overs 1 wicket for 12 runs
6. Arjun Pie Thrower 2 overs 17 runs
7. Mike Reeves 2 overs 2 wickets 13 runs Super Star!

Saturday 23rd October

CWB Bandits and guests

Representatives from the camp went to Gaps Oval to see the Saturday morning coaching session. it was fantastic to see how far they had come since last year. After his success in the previous evening, Mike Reeves decided to bowl against some 13 year olds in the nets – a chastening experience! The most impressive thing was not just the organisation but the fact the BCA provide the children with a drink and a meal at no cost to the students.
We ended the day with a meal at the Motel’s restaurant and the fines master Mike Griggs handed out all the fines for the previous week, raising around 300 pula which will be spent on something for all those children who come to the Gabs Oval next Saturday.

Allan ‘meerkat’ Parker-Read

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Cricketers Who Blog

October 23rd 2010

Mike Griggs - tutor

Greetings from Gaborone! I was wondering what to write about. Should it be the unforgettable HIV message that Allan the Meerkat delivered today? Should I mention the three Spurs supporters who stopped watching (with tears in their eyes) after 30 minutes into the match only because they were losing 3-0 to Inter Milan? Or maybe the impossible heat in that we coached today? Perhaps I could write about the 120 children that showed up this afternoon after we coached some new and some ‘old faces’ teachers at Mochudi – Ramagotsi school.

Will McLaren-Clark

No, there will be lots of that in the following days, I am sure. Instead I decided to take the easy option and introduce our amazing team.

Team Leader – Will has been sorting out our trip ever since… always. Being in Africa, nothing happens the way it’s planned and he is the one who always gets the stick for it. He can do a great Mike McIntyre laugh (in my opinion) and I think he could turn that into a new career.

Miss France – Veronique was last year classed as a WAG. Not happy with that title we swiftly changed it to Miss France and it seemed to have stuck (however, she is sometimes referred to as the Wine Goddess). V is one of the main photographers of the trip and we know she can perform a great pull shot. Nothing escapes her camera except for the unexpected catches. She doesn’t mind risking her life at square leg just to get ‘the picture’.

Veronique Cowan-Goessant and Mike Reeves

Meerkat – Allan has not disappointed so far. Spending a great portion of his time listening to music of dubious choice he acts as the First Aid expert (in fact, he did save the Water Goddess’ life today when she got too hot and bothered and in need of water…). Meerkat is also our treasurer and his immaculate book keeping skills ensure that we have money for food every evening.

The Eye Candy – Adrian is still minus his luggage. Today he officially gave in and went shopping for new clothes. The members of the team believe that he has, in fact, acquired more clothes in the last few days than what he had in his wandering bag. The nick name is of uncertain origin, some saying Adrian suggested it himself, some are of the opinion that he simply is The Eye Candy.

Chris Bond

Brad – Chris showed off his six-pack and the ladies agreed that Brad is a good name for the resident boxer. Named as the team wicket keeper, he is dedicating his time not only to sleeping and drinking gallons of water (to the delight of the Water Goddess) but also to practising his new skills. Wicket keeping and Braai (BBQ ) cooking.

Some say, they are cricketers. Some say, they are triplets. All we know is, that they’re all called Mike !

Veronika Reeves

The Tutor – Mike G is a returnee just like the most of the team. He makes sure that we know what to do and when to do it. His great responsibility is also to ensure that there is always a steady flow of jokes, be it year old ones. He hates snoring.

Blog Bitch – Mike R has earned this endearing nickname by setting up this blog and spending time every day by uploading the entries and photos online, so that you, lucky people, have something interesting to read! He is known for his cutting comments and ever present sarcasm.

Mike Stratford

Mike S – he is so special that we haven’t managed to give him a title yet. He seems to have escaped the naming committee! His everyday observations are countless and his role is to ensure that double entendre is ever present. He delivered a worthy presentation on umpiring with Meerkat. Unfortunately he was forced to ask The Tutor and the Blog Bitch to go on the naughty step for their unwanted questions and interfering. No surprise there then…

Water Goddess – Veronika, yours truly, has been selected to look after the purchase of water bottles and light snacks for the second year running. Her duty is to make sure that all members of the team receive 2 bottles of water in the morning (three in Brad/Chris’s case) and stick to the drinking regime. She has however failed to drink enough today and had to be rescued by Meerkat and an ice pack!

Adrian Shankar

And that’s it for today, friends and relatives. A little bit too much information maybe, but I just felt that it was important to introduce ourselves now that we finally know each other!

Your Water Goddess

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Wellness day at Gaborone cricket club

October 22nd 2010

Team leader Will and director Fraser

Wellness day at Gaborone cricket club

Africa is a continent of contrast, not dissimilar to ‘The nine’ who on their third full day sampled the highs and lows of this bewitching country of Botswana. The nine are definitely not ‘The A team’, ‘The Magnificent Seven’ or ‘The Dirty Dozen’, possibly somewhere in-between, a mixture of Beauty and the Beast’., ‘Country File’, ‘Only Fools and Horses’ ‘Last of the Summer Wine’, ‘Desperate Housewife’s’ & Grumpy Old Men’

Catching practice

Wednesday was no exception to a day of contrast , with the Mr. Fraser Tlhoiwe Director for the ‘Ministry of Education & Skills Development ‘ attending with sixteen of his staff in the morning and hundreds of children anticipated in the afternoon at the Botswana national cricket ground with grass and artificial track, compared to the usual dust bowls ……………. luxury!!! Real luxury!!!

Mr. Fraser Tlhoiwe greeted us all and said in a meaningful speech that the President had instructed all ministries to formulate HIV/AIDS wellness committees, and that Local Government Finance & Procurement Services HIV/AIDS wellness committee started in April 2009 is the most active in the ministry.

Adrian Shankar shows his class if not his shoes

Each of the staff then watched and involved themselves in the CWB course that both Botswana coaches and Catching practice children would be immersed, the morning session finished on a high, everybody having enjoyed and sampled the enlightening experience of cricket combined with AIDS awareness.

On a considerably hot day we waited patiently and in anticipation for the hundred and twenty under privileged children that we had been expecting for the afternoon session, unfortunately only 11 YES! 11 turned up. I guess a number of reason will later explain the limited number but ‘The Nine’ battled on with the limited attendance, but in our heart of hearts the afternoon was a low, an opportunity lost!!! The opportunity to continue to put smiles on the faces of the children of Botswana.

CWB coaches meet ministry officials

Tomorrow is another day, hopefully we will enjoy the highs without the frustrating lows.

Michael Stratford ………………………….(sleeping in a meadow)

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Day in Ledumang

October 21st 2010

Tutor Mike poses under the jacaranda trees

Immigration & Kenya Airways CC’S overnight score remained, 5 – 0.

That’s just not cricket.

The defiant overnight partnership comprising of the talented siblings, Adrian and Kit … Bags, were back at the crease, each resolutely assuming a character not dissimilar to the gritty tenacity of Meerkat’s table manner: a determined, quasi-permanent presence, that virtually no, one or no thing, not even the single-shot grape withering glare of Veronique, could dismiss.

So we sent in our best. Adrian S and our leader, the boss, big Will, the Big Willy….erm … to try to retrieve our dignity and tame the rebellious Bags’ brothers.

Stretching exercises???

While CWB’s Strike Bowlers flanked to the Airport, the remainder of the team focused in on the principal task at hand: the ensuing day in the outfield. This consisted of a trip to Ledumang, a local government-run school, just ten minutes drive from our base in central Gabs.

We arrived on Botswana time….apart from me, that is. I was kindly treated to an unguided and impromptu tour of several other local schools en-route by our geographically-challenged-and proud-of-it photographer, Rafael, who, despite his mercurial lack of logistical talent, proved a dab hand with his Nikon from thereon.

Enthusiastic supporters

The morning session saw us coaching the school’s teachers; and, as one unnamed CWB member remarked, it was fantastic to see some old faces (and some familiar ones too). The teachers plied their natural skills superbly, and adapted quickly to coaching the small group sessions, which consisted of batting, bowling and catching, enthusiastically delivered by Mike with his trademark dynamism, and intriguingly elastically facial expressions that helped to capture the audience, and convey every tip. Only Miss Morris’s masterful delivery of the quick catching lesson could par Mike’s professionalism.

Future star

The afternoon saw the arrival of the kids. Boy, did it! All 8 million of them, each bursting with the energy of a small solar storm; which, incidentally, reflected the “yikes-hot” weather we were experiencing. After indulging the enthusing bundles of energy disguised as kids in the same three skills sessions as the morning, we moved swiftly into the day’s main event: the match. Never have I seen such natural sportsmen and women. There were eight year-old fast bowlers seaming it like Shoji, and junior fielders hurling-in the ball like Jonty. It was quite amazing to see!

We wrapped up the day with a group photo in front of the stunning soft-purple of the Jacaranda blossom, before dusting the red earth from our.. everywhere, and heading back to base camp for a well earned cool down in the pool.
In all, a successful day. Kids taught – 88. And, to top it off, the wicket of the infamous Kit Bags, as Big Will returned triumphant with four satchels brimming with Kit. Unfortunately, Adrian’s bag remained elusive, but Immigration & Kenya Airways CC are down to their last man. Bring on the third day.

Chris B.

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