0530am start to join the Commonwealth day Peace walk. The Army brass band starts up and we have to do a series of warm up exercises before the 3 km walk through Buea central gets going. This turns out to be a 6 or 7 km walk up and down through the suburbs as well before we end up at the stadium for the ceremonial cricket match against the Cameroonian cricket team. The setting is an enclosed grass football pitch with a huge stand for the crowd on one side. The wicket is marked out in the middle but no differentiation to the the rest of the playing surface , I.e. 6 inch grass! There are various local political dignitaries and members of the Cameroonian cricket federation. The opposition are all young, athletic, and hugely keen. We are bolstered by 3 local Indian men who work in Douala and one of the other teams girlfriend. We play with a very slippery plastic ball due to the dew on the grass and take it in turns to bowl an over each. The score is ratcheting up as the boundaries are very short to the sides. Our pleas that we play “ Cricket Without Boundaries” falls on deaf ears. After 15 overs Cameroon make 121-6.
Our turn to bat and the difficulties of facing a plastic ball with variable pace and bounce off the grass become all too apparent and to make it more difficult the speed and agility of our opposition becomes all too apparent after 3 run outs.
In the spirit of touring English sides we slowly succumb to the conditions and collapse to 67 all out.
But it was fun and the Cameroonian team basked in their glory. However it may be early days for cricket in Buea as the crowd had dwindled from 4-500 hundred at the start to just the row of dignitaries by the end as the complexities and nuances of the game were lost.
So now the long journey to the capital Yaoundé 400-500 km to the East along the only road and many trucks, bumps and pot holes to encounter. 7 hours , Sleep, games, music, scenery watching, scary over taking, scary undertaking, cabin fever and then more sleep, a refuel stop for both the van and us and back to the cycle as above.
Week one completed and successfully so now it’s time to hit the Capital, more experienced ,less anxious, slightly better at Francais and still full of enthusiasm.