The Day 3 blog ended with ‘Three days in. Could it get more exciting?’ The simple answer is yes.
A 6:30am pick up saw us return to national TV for another interview, this time on Cameroon’s version of ‘TV-AM’. More Timmy Mallet than Susannah Reid the plan was for Thom and Liam to grace the screen with Victor, and despite the producer telling us in no uncertain terms that only two people could sit on the sofa, all seven of us were invited in front of the cameras by the host with unfeasibly high heels!
Thom, Liam, Victor, Jo and Jules were all quizzed about CWB, the CCF, our impressions of Cameroon and the food we had eaten, even engaging the host in a game of cricket live on air. And all in an area of space you would struggle to shower in?
TV over, we headed for Obala, a small town an hour outside of Yaounde and the first proper rural visit to ‘Africa’ of the trip. Wow! Two sessions of almost complete mayhem. Nearly 400 kids (and the same again watching) it was pure joy, enthusiasm and a complete ‘in at the deep end’ experience. In the morning we had five carousel training sessions set up and coached the basic techniques with CWB messages returning in the afternoon for a cricket festival where, on a football pitch, we managed to get five simultaneous matches going despite the intense heat and humidity.
While seven of the team were in Obala, Jono took the opportunity to make some HIV related connections with UNICEF, to instigate testing stations for future trips and engage local NGO’s in building sustainability measures after CWB have left.
The excitement however did not stop there! Victor had pulled off the miraculous and after a quick shower/beer we were whisked off to the location of our Commonwealth drubbing to meet a true Cameroonian sporting legend, Mr. Albert Roger Milla.
Roger Milla achieved World Cup legend status by scoring for Cameroon at the 1990 FIFA World Cup and dancing in celebration at the corner flag. Ultimately beaten by England, on penalties, in the Quarter Finals, this tournament saw Cameroon start the African ascent into international football as contenders rather than makeweights.
To a man and woman, the CWB team had purchased Cameroon replica shirts for the occasion, all of which were personally signed and subsequently worn for a quick photo shoot. Despite not speaking much English, nor us French, there was an atmosphere of awe and honour at meeting such a sporting icon.
So, four days in we have been truly spoilt on the social aspects of Yaounde and still managed to fit some coaching in. From here on in, it’s down to the real business of CWB starting with four school visits tomorrow…..