There are some days when a hot shower and a cold beer are essential, and today was one of them. After the best part of 700 children at 3 different schools we were all “tres, tres, tres, fatigue “. We also very red from the wind swept red dust off the dried mud playing areas (it was not a day to be wearing white!) and red from the incessant bright African sun. But we survived and succeeded. The greatest challenge was our second school where the children kept on arriving throughout the session until somewhere between 3-400 were spread between the 4 different skill sessions we were running. Even Simon , our driver helped out with either crowd control or translation.
By midday the now familiar appearance of everyone gradually slowing down almost to a grinding halt as carbohydrate levels plummeted ( usually led by our resident Doc- Ian, who starts to go pale and quiet as the batteries run down). But it doesn’t take more than a litre of fizzy drink and the Cameroonian version of a Cornish pasty (especially appreciated by Dr Ian who is from Cornwall) to get us all buzzing again ready for the afternoon session.
At our second school today the Principal was fascinated and enthusiastic about cricket and after we finished wanted a long discussion ( fortunately in his air conditioned office) about the minutiae of cricket and how he might be able to take it forward in his school ( which incidentally had the best and largest playing surface we had been on yet).
So to the afternoon and slight trepidation as to whether we have such large numbers again. But this was a smaller school in a poorer area. Though apparently a private school , conditions were extremely basic and the original playing area we were going to play on was really too dangerous due to masses of rubbish and broken bits of rock, metal and glass all over so we moved to the smaller front area. Though just about 90 children, it was a “compact” area to set up three stations, bowling, batting and fielding but we were enthused by the energy and willingness of the children to try something new. This was an anglophone school making communication easier and the children were happy to talk about HIV and chant the slogans. One girl “Nadia” made up a “magnifique” rap using the A-B-C-T message.
In the sessions balls were flying everywhere but fortunately fun and no injuries!
We then let the local teachers set up and run there own game of rapid fire which they did admirably and fed back their performance to them.
So we’re off for more chicken and suitable libation to refuel the tanks for the final coaching sessions tomorrow in a rural school 35km from Yaoundé.