I’ll start with a joke! No matter where you are from in the world, seeing someone else get hit in the private areas is funny, language is no barrier here! Seeing Chatfield take one in the mid regions this afternoon confirmed this.
Coaching this week has been challenging, but good fun and very rewarding. Children in Douala have been trying cricket for the very first time, so we have been doing our very best to make a good first impression. Of course there is the vital importance of creating the link between Cricket (a new and hopefully exciting sport to the children) and sida (HIV/AIDS)
From the relative calm and easy going life of a coach from England, the difference is obvious straight away.
At home, a session plan is drawn up for perhaps a class of 30 – with some minor adaptations required depending on the ages, ability, numbers changing here and there.
The challenges we’ve faced here is not knowing whether we have got 40/50 kids or 150+! Language is an obvious barrier too, especially for Dom and I, whose French resembles Del Boy from only fools at times. Mange tout!
That being said, as a group we have always adapted well and been able to cope, with the help of our Cameroonian coaches with the language.
The children took part in their first festival on Friday, which they really enjoyed. The general feeling in the group though is that we’ve left a lasting impression with the children about the game, and the important messages will be remembered through the fun they have had.
One little boy joined in with our laid back game that we played between us as coaches on Thursday evening. At the end of the session as we turned to leave, a tennis ball we had left for him was being used to bowl with a nice straight arm. Even better, his companion was using an adapted bat (a plank of wood found at the side of the playground) to strike the ball to the boundary. That’s the kind of little thing whilst out here coaching that makes you smile and realise that you’re making a difference and leaving something behind.
Watch this space in Douala, let’s hope this is the start of a new love for cricket here.
Africa, a place where nothing is normal! I simply can not stop looking out the window and watching people’s way of life. It is simply fascinating to see!
As a person that has worked in cricket for 8 years the CWB experience is very different to coaching in English schools. Early starts, hot and humid and a language barrier(I speak no French) add up too hardworking days. Tough for a redhead!
That being said I have not coached in an environment that is as rewarding as this. The amount of smiles you see, high fives and fist pumps makes it all worth it. You feel that you are making an impact instantly.
The other thing I have noticed in my time in Cameroon, is how talented the children are. They are all very athletic (probably due to their boot camp PE lessons) and hand eye co-ordination is strong too. They have picked up cricket very quickly and some have got “the bug” to play, using tennis balls and planks of wood to continue their cricket.
I would also like to add how lucky I fee to be part of a very good team. We have handled everything thrown at us with ease but also enjoy each others company in the bar. This is making the all round experience tres bien.