Day seven and a CWB first – coaching postponed due to live explosives.
As we made our way along the rutted dirt truck from the farmhouse to Dol Dol we encountered the British Army carrying out their final manoeuvres before deployment in Afghanistan.
In the end we were delayed for around two hours but we did manage to fit in a game of one-hand-one-bounce in the heart of the Kenyan wilderness.
In the stunning setting of the savannah the delay wasn’t exactly a hardship although when one of the military men, Major Charlie, warned us to follow him and ignore the landmine signs there was more than a little apprehension.
We arrived at the One More Day For Children rescue centre at around 1.30pm and were welcomed with a song from the girls who live there. The residents – aged 8- 14 – have suffered from abuse, mutilation or escape from forced marriage at an early age.
As we began coaching any worries about how comfortable the girls would be around us, the men in particular, evaporated. Some of them had suffered some of the worst kind of treatment imaginable, including one girl who was married off at the age of five and now suffers from HIV/AIDS. But as they caught high catches, hit straight drives at the CWB coaches and tried bowling for the first time, they came alive and were increasingly willing to interact with us to the point where the session ended in a mass of hugs, hive fives and fond farewells.
Lolldaiga Farmhouse, the place where we are staying, is truly spectacular. Situated around an hour from civilization, along almost impassable tracks, it is absolutely breath-taking with lush green savannah rising to the imposing mass of Mount Kenya – Africa’s second highest mountain.
Today our commute to ‘work’ featured around 30 elephants, 10 giraffe, an oryx, gazelle and numerous zebra and warthog, a great bustard and jackal on the way back (for one lucky car at least). The only downside is that the tracks are fairly treacherous after rain and at one stage this morning we nearly ended up in serious trouble when one of the 4x4s got stuck in a three foot deep gully.
With near disaster averted we finally made it to the rescue centre and enjoyed one of the most profound, moving and rewarding experiences of the trip so far.