Back to normality today with about 400 children in total. As we arrived there the whole school was having an assembly out doors and our mood was lowered as we witnessed quite severe corporal punishment in front of the children, the details of which would not be appropriate for this blog. It’s wrong for us to judge and not that long ago this was still going on in British schools.
But our mood was soon raised as all the children arrived smiling and laughing and unaffected by the previous scene and Andy led a new warm up reminiscent of the exercise guru “Mr Motivator “ and he certainly got them going and chanting their A- B-C-T’s. This school is also bilingual and English was good which gave the opportunity to again trial our small group “bat writing” exercise which seemed to go well yesterday in the richer private school. Again it was a great success and universal , enthusiastic input from the children , which as before led on well to expansion of the HIV conversation.
Quick dash across town to another new school (Simon, our driver, seems to specialise in creating his own lane in the midday traffic- whichever side of the road!!!) large numbers of students keen for the next session. Also English speaking and 3 teachers who had been to our coaching session. This was going to be an opportunity to let them lead the carousel of skills( bowling, catching and batting, followed by a game of rapid fire cricket). After running the first round with them helping, it was now their turn with us standing back but encouraging. This is really the whole point of the charity , to leave a legacy in the country which will be continued and expanded once we have gone. After a nervous start , they all did well , though the main difference would be the authoritarian way of teaching and only concentrating on those who weren’t getting it quite right . At present praise and encouragement is an alien concept ( again as when some us older ones will remember from school days). Also it is a totally new idea to try and relate other messages (in our case Health and in particular HIV awareness) to a sport but the teachers understood this and after a slow start really got to grips with it.
So back to our first school “Mevick” for the afternoon session. Two more teachers along with two of our Cameroonian leaders , Jules Abega (CWB ambassador for Cameroon ) and Idris (one of the players from the Cameroon cricket team) run the session.
It was good to have the help as it meant we could take turns getting a little shade (mad dogs and Englishman …. )
Life experiences are sometimes humbling and the visit to a local orphanage was on of those occasions. This one is for homeless street children or those who have lost their parents through HIV. Ages varied from 2-16 yrs old. They were sitting in rows when we arrived and then had the cutest welcome prepared for us “magnifique”. We then played game after game of all descriptions with tennis balls, while Jess tried to cuddle as many cute children as she could. Little Lance was the star, the smallest of them wandering in and out between our legs smiling.
New T shirts and tennis balls for them all and large sack of rice and noodles.
Time to leave before emotional overdose.