I’m Cal, and I will be looking after Team Botswana’s blog for the trip. Here, I offer my first sample to the blogosphere as the team prepare for the trip at a training weekend in Aylesbury.
I sat down on the benches outside the Bell Inn and before I could say ‘howzat’ I was approached by a mother and her son. “Are you…the cricket?”
I wasn’t the only one to arrive on the Friday night and after a constant stream of arrivals and introductions I had quickly shared stories with three quarters of Team Botswana in a cosy corner of the Bell. It wasn’t long before everyone was chatting all things cricket and I was happy to have met so many new faces before the training began proper.
After a few cups of coffee on the Saturday we had some group icebreakers and a talk from CWB chief David we were ready to take to the field and learn about how we were going to get our messages about HIV/AIDS to the children of Botswana. The basic message we will be looking to get across is as easy as ABC:
A – Abstain
B – Be Faithful
C – Use a Condom/Protection
Cricket without Boundaries is all about making these important messages stick in the children’s head and help build a positive future in a country where around 25% of Adults have HIV/AIDS. By using cricket we can put a smile on their faces as well as teaching them about the importance of ABC. For instance, the visual impact of using your cricket bat as Protection, or Abstaining from bowling with a bent elbow will be extremely effective. We learnt a few bowling, fielding and batting drills and learnt numerous ways of incorporating the ABC message into these. We also learnt a bit more about the AIDS problem in Sub-Saharan Africa. For instance, did you know that in 2011 there were an estimated 23.5 million people living with HIV/Aids in Sub-Saharan Africa – facts like these are shocking when you put them into perspective. Saturday finished with some chinese pork at the cafeteria and a trip back to the Bell.
On Sunday we started to think about our own mission in Botswana, as well as how we would split up the roles in our team. Every team gave demonstrations to the rest of us, and it was fantastic to see everyone really getting into the swing of it. One of the CWB mottos is ‘expect the unexpected’, and energy is one of the necessary skills we are going to need when 300 children turn up at a moments notice for a game of cricket. However I’m sure everyone is up for the challenge and I could tell by the end of the session that the enthusiasm of the previous volunteers had spread to us ‘newbies’ as well. I was given the role of blogger while the roles of “kitty-man” (Chris), “Welfare Leader”(Bronwen), “Kit Manager”(Jethro) were also agreed upon. It was also time to see how our other countries would compare in the ‘inter-country competition’ where Team Botswana (aka THE INVINCIBLES) came top on two occasions. It was great to meet the gang and I’m twice as excited for the project now I’ve met the team and learnt about the project.
After a long journey home, I am now focused on preparing myself for a tough two weeks, as well as teaching myself how to blog and getting everything sorted such as travel insurance. It is also a big week for my girlfriend who is packing up and moving to Tasmania for a fantastic new job, so before I go to Botswana I will be helping her sort everything out and getting her onto a plane to take her around the world. She has been so supportive of me and the project and I will hopefully be able to keep her (and the rest of you) updated with all things Botswana over the course of the trip which commences on the 4th October.
Go siame (see you!)