Yaoundé looks and feels very different to Douala. Less shanty town and certainly less humidity. We are in staying in Bastos , a slightly more upmarket area with Consulates and armed residences around us. Two stern looking Cameroonian soldiers with AK47s at the ready patrol the street outside our place of rest. More English signs are apparent and more English is spoken in the shops and restaurants.
Our Cameroonian team had a well deserved night off to spend with their families and came back looking refreshed and keen this morning. Simon, our driver arrived in full local African dress, James in clean pristine whites. So off for a coaching session with the teachers from some of the local schools which we will be visiting this week.
The weather doesn’t have the close heavy heat we have been used to but soon we realise that even though this is true, the sun is intense today as there are no clouds and very little breeze as we are away from the coast and soon we are “roasting” under the African sky.
Sam, our Cricket leader was on top form today and very slick after all the practice last week. CWB has been to Yaoundé before (Douala was the first time), and it really showed. Nearly all the teachers were very familiar with the basics of cricket and quite a number play for either the men’s or women’s Cameroon team.
They were also on message straight away with our mission of linking learning cricket to learning about HIV health prevention. They knew and understood about “abstaining” bending your arm and “abstaining” from sex until old enough and being “faithful” to one partner “fidelity”. Your bat protects the wicket and in life you need to protect yourself from HIV and other risky behaviors that lead to bad life choices.
So as they were more advanced, Sam went quickly through the basics and we concentrated on moving onto a number of different game based learning techniques (rapid fire cricket, quick cricket and ultimately to pairs cricket). We also began to teach the basic umpiring rules, wides, no balls, scoring and the commonest ways of getting out.
Finally a game between two teams, which was as always played with an amazing intensity and competitiveness. They certainly like to win in Cameroon!
So we have six schools to visit this week and an orphanage
A few hours R&R to get ourselves ready for the next few days. A visit to the local “eco-park” as we drove in we didn’t have high expectations and sadly they were fulfilled. A number of small cages with a few monkeys, a huge tortoise trying to dig out, a donkey tethered to a stake, 2 camels and ragged looking ostriches. A pile of crocodiles with empty pond! And a few cages full of parrots. Probably needn’t say more about it!