Before I go into detail about Day 14 I must first recount the ‘Battle of Veranda’, which began after we played a quiz yesterday evening (won by Team Doyle/Boothroyd/Jethro/Gayton). Lawrence the Lamp Toad, our team mascot and guardian of the Woodlands lodge, went mano et mano with a hideously large dragonfly, the same beast that had bugged our wounded warrior Jethro all night long. Spotting the monstrous creature invading our territory above the front door, Lawrence lined up the jump onto the wall and then made his move, pouncing elegantly onto the wall underneath this abomination of the insect world. Sensing his moment, Lawrence then pounced, battling the beast full on and engulfing the creature in his mouth before falling backwards off the wall circa Alan Rickman in Die Hard. Even as he fell to the ground Lawrence and the Beast fought as if the honour of Team Botswana was worth risking their lives. Earlier in the evening Ian had been playing the Lord of the Rings soundtrack in the kitchen and for that brief moment I was not in Botswana but in the Mines of Moria, witnessing our guardian wizard fighting the Balrog of the insect world as both plummeted into the darkness beneath the lamp. We didn’t know where the two had disappeared until Lawrence emerged victorious from the interior of Ian’s trainer, with both wings of his prey sticking ceremoniously out of his mouth. Our mascot had served us well and deserved every inch of his dinner. As I write this blog Lawrence is back on guard duty, ever-watchful for any threats to the team’s welfare. Last night it was also nice to have Clem and his family come over for another delicious meal served up by Bronwen. The rum and raisin ice cream was the icing on the cake.
In the morning the team set off for our second day in Thsesebe where we were assessing another group of coaches to carry on the CWB message. Before this we popped into the local primary school where the kids from the day before had come along to play cricket with us the previous afternoon, and dropped off some kit with Stan from TOP Banana. We also explored the school kitchen and got involved in crushing (or in David’s case caressing!) Sorghum with the cooks. For the assessing, I was with Ian and we had five coaches, three of whom passed their Level 1 certificates and the other two received their Introduction to Coaching certificates. Although I felt that our coaches didn’t pick it up as readily and enthusiastically as the ones in Sowa, they still gave it a really good go and having one less day to work with them this was all we were really asking for. The language barrier was an issue and a couple didn’t pass but in the end we handed out approximately 25 certificates.
After the usual mispronunciation of names and requests for different size shirts (we only have large!) we drove across to TOP Banana, the community care organisation who have been assisting us over the last couple of days. They do excellent work with children in the Thsesebe community and have recently built a Teaching Centre and Pre-School which, when opened in a few months time, will be able to provide education to local families whose choice of education is extremely limited in this part of the country. It was great to hear about the projects they run there from the project leader of TOP Banana Stan Martin and also to see a mural of Cricket Without Boundaries that had been painted since previous CWB projects had visited their facilities. There was also a HIV Testing facility on-site and some fantastic playing equipment for the children. On the weekend they usually cater for around 80-120 kids and give them a fun, safe place to go when they’re not at school or home.
In the afternoon we drove a few metres down the road to the Thamani CJSS school and coached our usual 4 skills sessions to the 70-odd children there. It was great to have our newly qualified coaches helping out, kitted in their yellow CWB tops. We then popped over to the JSCC school where there is an under-16 cricket tournament happening tomorrow with teams from Zimbabwe and Botswana. Jethro was eager to prove his fractured ankle wouldn’t keep him off the cricket field, scooping (and missing?) 11 year old bowlers, while I continued to prove that there are plenty of children who can catch better than me.
Tomorrow is our last day in Botswana and we are up early to coach 400 kids at a Francistown school before heading straight to Gaborone for our final night in the country.
Surprisingly today was gaffe free so we have compiled a list of gaffe highlights…
Ian losing battery on all his hardware before we see the Cheetahs in the Safari.
Moks draining the battery in the minibus.
David’s failed super-selfie.
Cal cutting open his left shin attempting a Cruyff Turn.
Jethro fracturing his ankle.
Chris continuing to call Ian ‘Graham’.
Cal’s calamitous over in the match vs the Pioneers.
Ian confusing the Hairy Bikers and the Great British Bake Off with Masterchef – the Great British Bike Off?
Bronwen falling off the plastic chair.
Ian putting salt in his cup of tea.
However SCOTT WARREN wins the #COVET #notsoinvincible Gaffe of the Trip award for forgetting his passport at the airport as well as the team hoodies that he’d left by his front door. Perhaps without Scott’s initial gaffe the trip would have been completely seamless and Ian would never have been nicknamed the ‘Gaffer’.
A few special thanks to the people along the way who have made our trip amazing:
Clement – thanks for all your help this week in Francistown.
Faz and the guys at the BCA Oval – thanks for being so accomodating and friendly when we arrived in Gaborone.
Moks – brilliant driver and the coolest dude in Botswana
Stan – http://www.botswanabanana.com/ thanks for your help this last two days
Lawrence the Lamp Toad
Elvis and Vusi for playing for the Invincibles
Giresh and Ravi – thanks for organising stuff behind the scenes
Tom, Botswana country manager at CWB – cheers for all your help.
The Day in the Life Video as well as a few ‘wrap ups’ will be published soon so don’t forget about the blog just yet!
Thanks for reading,