As our blogger in chief, Ian, has departed to play in an over 50’s tournament in South Africa, Project Leader Dave takes the reins for the last day.
On the hottest day in Yaoundé so far, the team said Au Revoir to Dr Bishop as we prepared for the trip finale, the cricket festival. Predictably things didn’t run smoothly as two schools were stuck in traffic. However, two schools got stuck in and soon there were two competitive cricket games happening on the huge dusty expanse.
It was great to see the kids again, especially being greeting with the ‘T’ signs and shouts of condom. Our messages had filtered through, and gave us a platform for further conversations, such as can girls say no to boys (in cricket and in life).
The teachers we had coached were also there, clearly having an understanding of the game. However, it was tough to keep the teachers positive as they berated the children at every opportunity. Our coaching is all about reinforcing the positives and encouraging fun, sadly often flying in the face of the ingrained school coaches.
Each school had a game each, including a rather mismatched game between a young baptist school against an older experienced Mevick side. The baptist school had some issues with running but put in a valiant performance against a clearly superior side. One lad, a future star in the making, was inconsolable after the defeat, despite his heroic performance. The kids here care about their cricket.
After a brief chat with the media and a ceremonial handing over of the kit, the team had finished coaching. We packed up and spent the afternoon with the coaches we had spent the two weeks with. We visited Cameroon cricket captain James’ house; a modest one room abode in the student area. The highlight of this visit was meeting his family. It was great to see this side of James as we had become a close knit family over the two weeks. We said our emotional goodbyes at the airport and departed this magical country.
As I write this we are sat in a cafe in Brussels, a world away from the last two weeks. It’s difficult to take in the last two weeks, but look out for some reflective pieces and our favourite photos over the next few days.
Safe to say that Cameroon has not disappointed.