Heavy tropical downpours over night washing down the streets of Douala, so we wake up to sauna like conditions with so much moisture in the air.
We visit a new school this morning, the Roman Catholic Marie Chevraul. Two of the teachers had been to last Sunday’s training with us: Charles and Pom. We are introduced to a gentle bespeckled elderly “Mother Superior” who they all call “mother”.The most welcoming Principal we have met so far.
It’s going to be a fast paced day as we only have an hour or so here,so decide to play a game of “quick cricket” to introduce the eager students to the game and explain we will be back “apres- midi “ for a longer session.
Back to New Bell for a two hour coaching carousel with another large “120-150” children ( remember there are 5000 students at this school).
As they rotate around the different skill stations ; batting, bowling, and throwing, you can hear the chanting of “abstinence “, “fidelity “ and “condom” after each end of station “Test”. The messages are becoming familiar to all. A dance has been created similar to the “YMCA” song of the 70s as the make the the shapes of “A-F-C-T”. It’s all loads of fun for them and us, a stark contrast to the disciplinarian approach of local teachers which is uncomfortable to watch and we try and discourage as diplomatically as possible.
You wouldn’t know it had rained so heavily last night as the midday heat has burned it all off.
A dash back to Marie Chevraul Ecole, grabbing some food and drink from a roadside “boulangerie”. 4 litres drunk already today and still no need to go “au toilette”!!
We start again with a new group of willing students who have never played cricket before. The smiles, laughs and enthusiasm are never ending – they just keep coming and coming with every new session. We try some new games and new tests to see if we can improve and work out better ways to relate our training and cricket tests to messages about “HIV” . Though Roman Catholic , the Mother Superior was happy for us to explain about condom use, even to the younger children.
We have passed the 1000 mark for the number of children who’ve taken part in one of our sessions and that is an underestimate as very often once we get going numerous others join in as they walk by. Thinking on your feet and adapting as you go along, is essential.
So hot , tired , sweaty (as usual), and slightly more tanned, we finish with various mass games. We get an invite from “mother” to her office where she gives us all a “shot” of her homemade “ moonshine limoncello “. Very surreal. She even offers to sell us a bottle!
Probably not a good idea , when tired and slightly dehydrated. Could be time for sleep now!