Saturday: Nairobi cricket and final thoughts – Gareth

With our coaching schedule over it was time to return to Nairobi and begin the long journey home. There was one final highlight remaining however, as several members of the tour party had managed to blag a game at the beautiful Nairobi Cricket Club for the annual Chairman’s XI vs Patron’s XI match.

I had been really looking forward to beginning my cricket season in February, although after some excessive end of tour celebrations on Friday night now I wasn’t so sure. An unsociable starting hour of 11am combined with a late night and a 3 hour commute from Nakuru had sapped my enthusiasm somewhat. Almost inevitably my team was fielding first, and the cricketing gods decreed that the first spiralling catch would head in my direction. Luckily high catching was one of the techniques I had helped to coach over the past two weeks, and I perfectly executed the ‘stagger round in a circle before falling over and spilling the ball’ technique that has served me well my whole cricket career.

Despite an inauspicious start the Cricket Without Boundaries participants acquitted themselves well with scores of 58, 25 and 21 not out. I managed 34 runs myself, benefiting from two dropped catches and a missed run out, before managing to hit the oppositions Zimbabwean First Class bowler out of the attack. He had obviously fallen for my cunning ‘staggering drunk’ act earlier in the day.

As well as being the capital of Kenya, Nairobi is the capital of the country’s cricket. The Nairobi Club has in place a similar structure to what we’re trying to establish in other parts of Kenya. They have a youth system that identifies and progresses young talent, many from disadvantaged areas. Four of the current Kenya national team came through the Nairobi club ranks, they say many more less privileged locals are held back not by talent but by the meagre diet that leaves them weaker than their richer counterparts. Unfortunately for cricket in Kenya other clubs aren’t always as progressive, and in some regions cricket remains the game of the elite.

Thinking back to my flight out it feels like much more than two weeks ago because of all the varied experiences we have squeezed in. I’d like to thank Cricket Without Boundaries for providing me with the opportunity, including Andrew Ryan and all the other members of staff. Also a mention our tour leader ‘big squirrel’ John and Cricket Kenya host ‘little squirrel’ David. It as been great fun sharing this experience with the other volunteers, Alan, David, Pete, Gareth and Jambo Joe and finally a big thank you to all those who sponsored me.

The two weeks have at times been emotional, usually tiring, and never once dull and I feel much richer for the experience. Once we had finished the coaching on Friday the overwhelming feeling was relief, at times we have struggled with exhaustion, sunburn, a punishing travel schedule and various other ailments. I hope one day I’ll be able to return to Kenya, and hopefully eventually to see them play as a full Test cricket nation.

Celebrating the end of a successful tour we had a final couple of Tusker’s. The national TV station, KBC, ran its English news bulletin at 9pm. Our tournament in Nakuru had made the sports news, the third story in the section, relegating highlights of a couple of little known English football clubs – Liverpool and Manchester City, into fourth place.

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Friday: Cricket Tournament – Gareth

The team assembled early this morning to prepare for our grand finale, a cricket tournament at the Rift Valley Sports Club featuring 10 schools, 20 teams (split equally between girls and boys) and over 200 students. Running a cricket festival can be a logistical nightmare, but we diligently prepared a fixture schedule starting at 9am and split into 30 minute matches. However we forgot to account for the phenomena that is ‘Kenya Time’, the first school arrived about 9.30am, the last rocked up around 10.40!

Drawing on support from local coaches, and some of the newly trained coaches from local schools we adapted as best we could. Dividing roles of umpire, scorer, team manager, tournament coordinator, and sometimes mere crowd controller we managed to fit all the games in.

The games were raucously entertaining. Bowlers charged in determined to bowl fast, batsmen swung from the hip and fielders charged round enthusiastically. The running between the wickets often verged on shambolic. The smiles on the children’s faces and natural exuberance of the kids will live with me a long time, as they tried to master a game that not long ago they had never seen.

The very first game I umpired summed up the unpredictability. In a 7 over, 8-a-side game the opening bowler cleaned 3 batsmen in his first four balls and ran out another in the very first over. By the last over the number eight batsman was launching 3 huge sixes over the bowlers head, his 36 not out leading the team to a score of 82/6 that saw them win on the last ball with 2 runs to spare.

At around 5pm we wrapped the tournament up with the 2 finals, erratic to the last the team that had been unbeaten all day were bowled out for 9, chasing what seemed an easy target of 44. We finished with a few presentations, handed out our remaining medals and prizes and launched into one final rendition of the ‘Lovely Lovely Cricket’ song. The day was a great success with 3 television crews from various Kenyan TV stations coming along to film sections.

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Thursday: David Asiji – Gareth

After finishing our sessions in Dol Dol we returned to Nakuru on Wednesday. Once again the format was of school coaching for the majority of the group (including me) while the ECB qualified coach tutors simultaneously ran a coach trainer session. Now as I write preparations are being finalised for a 10 school cricket tournament on Friday, hosted by the Rift Valley Sports Club, which we hope will provide a suitable finale to our efforts in Kenya.

For today’s entry I would like to pay tribute to David Asiji, who has accompanied us throughout this trip. David works for Cricket Kenya, in a role co-ordinating cricket development around the Nakuru region. It is a new role, and a pivotal one for us in making our impact much more sustainable. David has helped to co-ordinate all our school visits and also as a former Kenya U-19 team coach, he has assisted with delivering our sessions.

David was an international cricketer for Kenya (they have full One Day International status, but do not currently play Test Matches). It is inspirational for the children to have someone like David accompany us, who they can aspire to emulate. David has a two inch long scar on his left shoulder, where a delivery from the South African pace bowler, Lance Klusener, smashed into his shoulder bone. During the innings Klusener (‘the fastest bowler I ever faced’) also abused David, calling him a ‘little squirrel’, because of his diminutive stature. Perhaps David regrets telling our group this story as we have christened him ‘little squirrel’ ever since.

Squirrel jokes aside I would like to thank David for all his effort and enthusiasm towards developing cricket. He has been an invaluable member of the party, for starters none of the rest of us would be able to fit in the child seat at the front of the bus. David’s presence has improved the quality of our sessions immeasurably. We try to reinforce the ABC message at various points, but with many children having limited command of English it is a great asset to have David closing each session. Although I don’t understand everything he says it is clear the children respect him immensely and he speaks passionately about the perils of HIV / AIDS. Also, through David, we know the cricket equipment we have transported will be allocated fairly anf follow-up visits to all the schools scheduled, to continue the work we have done.

Also (aside from the less worthy profession of a drug dealer), David’s job is apparently the only one that requires three phones, and he is constantly on his mobile, confirming logistics, arranging sessions with the schools, liasing with press, confirming accomodation, even helping us to haggle to ensure we do not have to pay ‘tourist prices’ for food or equipment.

David is 34 now, and although his international career is now over he still harbours ambitions to play ciricket in England as a club professional. If a club is interested in hiring a top class wicket-keeper batsman, cricket coach and an enthusiastic advocate for cricket in all its forms I would highly recommend him.

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Monday: Nanyuki & Dol Dol – Gareth

As we drove into central Kenya from Nakuru to Nanyuki the terrain changed noticeably. While the West and the highlands near Nairobi are relatively lush, the central district is much more arid. The road becomes a dust track and the houses change from rudimentary metal constructions into straw huts.

We are entering virgin territory for cricket in Nanyuki. In Nakuru the game is known, if only mainly in private schools and exclusive clubs for the wealthy, and our mission is to spread the message to the normal schools with less equipment and facilities. Whereas in Nanyuki the game barely has a footprint at present, for example there is no Cricket Development Officer provided by Cricket Kenya. In Nanyuki the cricket torch has mainly been carried by Aliya, a South African volunteer who has been helping teach the game in schools in the district. The first time CWB visited Nanyuki was 6 months ago, so this is our second trip.

With the arid climate many of the school sports fields are dust tracks, often with football posts fashioned from branches. As soon as we start the warm-up exercises the dust rises, getting in our eyes, throat and mouth. Despite the heat and adverse climate the children are incredibly enthusiastic. I find 5 minutes exercise in the sun and I am sweating, the locals seem fresh after an hour and hardly ever seem to break sweat. Their enthusiasm is an inspiration, especially towards the end of the day when we are starting to flag with fatigue.

One important aspect to remember is that many of the children in Nanyuki schools have never seen cricket before. So we must ensure our sessions are simplified and inclusive for all. We are focusing less on the basics of batting and bowling and more on fun catching games and continuous cricket to make sure that they all have fun, whilst hopefully getting a taste for the game that will attract them back for more.

On Monday we travelled even further north to Dol Dol, so good that they named it twice. The landscape is incredibly arid, apart from a few cacti and shrub land you could almost be on the surface of Mars with the parched red earth and rocks. This barren land is home to some of the Maasi tribes, and judging by the speed and ferocity that some of the children can throw a ball their skill in throwing spears definitely comes in handy for cricket.

I had hoped that the Kenyan national team would help with our mission of promoting cricket, but in their opening game of the World Cup yesterday they were emphatically beaten by New Zealand. Judging by what I have seen in Nakuru and Nanyuki Kenya needs a lot of support and assistance to develop a system where players come from all the society, not just the privileged elite. With a much greater pool of players, drawn from the youth all over the country allied with their rich resources in natural talent success on the field will surely follow.

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Sunday: Sustainable Cricket on the Game Reserve – Pete

I’ve touched before on the need for sustainable growth from Cricket Without Boundaries projects. A successful CWB trip has to be about more than just making sure we get kids to enjoy playing the game once – they have to pick it up, and play when we’re not there. Here in Nanyuki we’ve seen a great example of how that can work, and another of what we can achieve.

Whilst the rest of the team led sessions in local schools, two of our senior coaches – Dave and Alan, have taken a group of thirty young teachers, and over the course of two intensive days they’ve given them a real quality level one assessment. The work they’ve done over the last two days should have a real lasting impact on cricket in this part of Kenya.

There was James who cycled 10miles a day for the course so he could take it back to teach the nomadic Masaai tribe he teaches, and the man was a star.

Then there was Mike, who’s been helping us deliver sessions since we arrived in this part of Kenya, and his enthusiasm for the game is fantastic. There were too many more fantastic new coaches to mention but the work of Anne and Millcent, two teachers from the school which kindly hosted us, deserves a mention. The quality of the coaching those two delivered after just two days was phenomenal, and with the kit that their school has the whole team left confident that the two of them can help their school produce some real quality cricketers.

Creating the grounds for sustainable cricket is one thing but seeing it taking hold six months down the line is quite another. In CWB’s last project to Kenya in October they took the game, some kit, some AIDS awareness T-Shirts and the hope of developing the game to a remote school on a Game Reserve an hour and a half out of Nanyuki called Ol Jogi.

As we pulled up to the school we were greeted by the unmistakable sight of 100 children playing cricket. In fact not just playing but receiving some quality coaching. Six months ago, local teacher Azizz took a coaching course with CWB and now his students play twice a week.

There’s no substitute for playing equipment, that’s why every CWB project takes out as much cricket kit as the airlines will allow and brings none back. Azizz was making great use of the two sets of stumps, bats and balls the last trip left behind, and the T-shirts left are still worn with pride by every student that got one at the school.

Ol Jogi is a real success story for CWB – the teachers and head are great advocates for the game and they are a great example of what can be achieved. And they are getting lots of AIDS awareness stuff into their sessions too. Speak to you again soon.

Pete

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Friday, Reflections on Kenya – Pete

Learning cricket is not easy, but learning in your second language is tough, and it’s tricky for coaches too. Since we first arrived the quality of our coaching has gone up every day. In the first few sessions it was as much as we could do to try and get the coaching points and AIDS awareness message across at the same time whilst trying to make it fun, but over the last few days we’ve really started to get to know the young people we’ve been coaching – and that starts with something as simple as finding out their names.
 
On Tuesday, at the Nakuru Teacher Training College, we met a young man called Teves. Teves had travelled 400km to attend the school from the village he shares with the family of an obscure American Politician called Barack Obama. He had the sort of batting power most can only dream of, and an eye to go with it and from a standing start he was coaching the other students by the end of the day. His talent and aptitude are indicative of the potential for cricket in this country.
 
At the end of the day we were approached by another young teacher called Bernard. He told us that he had travelled to Nakuru from Tanzania where he hoped to teach once he was qualified. Like Tevez he’d never played cricket before but now he was determined to take the game back to Tanzania and use it to promote and HIV/AIDS awareness message too – that’s exactly what we are trying to achieve and it’s fantastic news.
 
After a grueling four and a half hour journey, admittedly punctuated with a quick stop off at a waterfall and lunch at a trout farm we arrived at picturesque Nanyuki in the foothills of Mount Kenya. Once there we went straight to Tumaini Children’s Home where we met the inspirational manager, Purity. Purity runs the home for 56 children living with HIV and AIDS, and she loves cricket. Gareth has already explained what an incredible emotional and inspiring experience the day was so I’ll just add that it is one none of us will ever forget.
 
Purity is a great supporter of CWB and she’s really bought into what we are all about. So much so that today, she was with a couple of our top level tutors taking her level 1 coaching certificate, so she can carry on using cricket to fight HIV/AIDS when we’re not here. To have someone get involved as clearly on the frontline of the battle against this terrible disease as Purity, is a real point of pride for Cricket Without Boundaries.
 
On top of the teacher training and the orphanage we’ve been in to what feels like countless schools already – everyone with their stars. In Nakuru there was Esther with a cannon of a right arm, and Priscilla who, completely uncoached, was generating some reall offspin. At the Primary school this morning there was Marion with her Manchester United shirt and fantastic smile, and I’ve just left a game with a young lad called Samuel who in a two hour session became a frighteningly good righthanded batsman with shots all around the wicket – if he was given proper coaching not one of us has any doubt he could be something really special.
 
Enough of me, I’m off for a pint or two of Tusker.
 
Pete

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Thursday, Nanyuki Orphanage – Gareth

On Thursday we awoke early to begin the long drive to Nanyuki. Although the distance between Nakuru and Nanyuki is not too great the journey took the best part of 5 hours, as some sections of road are more akin to a cluster of interlinked craters and potholes rather than an actual road. The suspension at the back of our minibus is ropey to say the least, and by the end of the journey all of us we severely in need of some fresh air and a chance to stretch our legs.

This afternoon we ran a quick session at a local orphanage. Having done our part to talk to student teachers about AIDS prevention this was the opposite side of the equation, all the children at the orphanage had already contracted HIV, mostly it has been passed on directly from their mother in the womb.

                The experience was extremely hard for me – it is absolutely heart-breaking to see these beautiful young children, full of smiles and laughter, and to know that none of them will live to a normal age. At the end of the session the teacher showed us around the orphanage. In one room was a set of individual drawers, labelled with names of each child and containing a selection of anti-viral pills that help to ensure the children are strong enough to fight the virus. Many of the sticky labels were covering two or three previous labels that went before them – an incredibly sombre thought.

                My mental image of HIV positive children was of sickly bed-ridden children. Infact, although all were very skinny (like most Kenyans) they were full of youthful exuberance and energy. In between playing cricket many would do somersaults and back-flips to demonstrate their athleticism. After two hours playing cricket in the sun it was the coaches that were flagging most, not the children. The HIV virus remains dormant, often for years, until inevitably the AIDS stage when the victim begins to deteriorate very quickly. This is why many people in Africa, and indeed the world, aren’t aware that they are HIV positive and this is partly the reason why the disease has spread so dramatically.

                The orphanage had been set up by an Italian religious charity. Following the visit our group discussed some of the implications of this. My feeling is although it is brilliant that the money raised can pay for the drugs that will dramatically extend and improve the quality of these children’s lives, I couldn’t prevent myself shivering involuntarily when I seeing typically Catholic images of Jesus on the cross on display around the orphanage. This reminded me of how religion should be taking the lead in passing on the contraception message, but instead many religious schools in Africa have banned the use of ‘Condom’ in the ABC message.

                Visiting the orphanage I was awe-struck by was the dedication of the staff working there. Purity, one of the local Kenyan staff gave us a tour of the facilities. She works 6 days a week in the orphanage, caring for the children every hour they are not at school. The love and attention that Purity and her fellow staff show to the orphans is incredible, I can’t begin to imagine how harrowing their job must be. It was satisfying for me and the fellow coaches to come in for one afternoon and to spread smiles and laughter. But the staff are here every day, dealing with the issues caused by this terrible disease, it is an incredibly tough and unglamorous job and they are all heroes for doing what they do. Purity mentioned that they only receive the most ‘desperate’ cases. She also said the number of children referred to them was increasing year on year, suggesting that in the Nanyuki area at least that HIV infection rates are still increasing.

                This was a day I will never forget.

Gareth

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Wednesday, Teacher Training – Gareth

Following our session at Kericho Teacher Training College on Monday we were at Nakuru Teacher Training College today to teach the Introductory and Level One coaching courses. Visiting the Schools is a lot of fun, but in many ways working with the trainee teachers is the most satisfying as they can pass on the cricket skills and the HIV prevention message to their classes. If we are successful this means we have an exponential effect and CWB’s footprint will cover a much larger area. In our travels around the country one of the most noticeable things is the number of children. A huge proportion of Kenya’s population is aged under 15 and when you travel through the various towns every there seems to be a school on every street corner. Meeting the trainee teachers it was incredible how young they looked, in Kericho in particular the teachers were so slight and skinny I would have guessed most were 16 years old, infact they were all aged between 20-25. When they graduate the schools they will be designated to teach at will typically have classes of 60 children each. Kenya recently introduced mandatory education for all under 11’s so the role of teaching the next generation will be vital. I found the student teachers to be incredibly conscientious, they are also quite solemn and intense in character. It took quite a lot of effort to get them to come out of their shell and many were so softly spoken I struggled to understand them. However it is impressive that all the teachers speak such good English, as for them it is their second language – they all speak Swahili and many speak other local dialects too. Our aim for these sessions is to leave the student teachers with all the tools they need to be a successful sports coach in the future. This is challenging to achieve in one day, in the UK the Level One course consists of ten sessions of two hours. We simplify the course so that it consists mainly of short demonstration sessions of all the basic skills – certain batting strokes, bowling and fielding drills. Most of the students are complete novices at cricket, although with their natural athleticism many of the teachers picked up the skills quickly. We also cover the teaching method that coaches need, this has many aspects, including: – The importance of introducing the session and gaining the attention of the group – Giving an accurate demonstration of the skills from multiple angles, including the key ‘coaching points’ – Asking open questions to check for understanding – Giving clear instructions to the group for each activity and ensuring the practice is safe – Quickly starting the practical aspect, so the participants remain engaged – Finally, and most importantly, making sure the session is fun to participate in Each person in our team has specific responsibilities. I have been asked by the group to ensure that we are including the relevant HIV / AIDS awareness message in our coaching. The teachers we mentor already know about this, using the aforementioned ABC acronym. I spoke to them about how best to creatively link this message to the necessary cricket skills. For example, we can mention in cricket how the batsman can make one mistake, which means he is out of the game. Similarly, it only takes one instance of unprotected sex to contract HIV. Finally, at the end of the day we hand over to the trainee teachers to run demonstration sessions. They are assessed on their teaching skills and if they meet the necessary standard passed as Level One cricket coaches.

Gareth

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Monday & Tuesday – Pete

Hi my name is Pete and I’ll be blogging for Cricket Without Boundaries for the next two weeks we are in Kenya, hopefully developing the game we love and putting across and HIV/AIDS message at the same time.

After a fantastic first two days of rhinos, lions and local kids playing Kwik Cricket, Monday brought the first day of real work. A 6:30 start followed by a two hour journey through some of the finest tea country on the planet took us to Kericho Teacher Training College.

Teaching teachers is the very best way to get any message across. CWB is only in Kenya for two weeks but if we get a new generation of coaches into cricket and delivering an awareness message, that sort of work is going to last for generations, so this was to be a huge test.

As a group we were determined to show everyone we met what a great game cricket is, and to tie it in with that paramount ABC message.
A – For Abstain
B – For Be Faithful
C – Use a Condom/Use Protection

At the teacher training college we were greeted by 50 20-something aspiring teachers and after a warm up we quickly split them into two groups – those who’d played before and were ready to become coaches, and those who needed a more intorductory session. From there Gareth Davis took the novices and David Dolman took the more experienced – This year’s trip is blessed with three professional Level 3 coaches so we certainly aren’t lacking in top level technical ability.

As a group we decided that on top of the technical side of things we needed to leave these young students with a love for cricket. Cricket is not on the sporting syllabus in Kenya, and the way to get it on is for teachers to demand it, so what we looked to do was create a generation of young teachers who see the benefit of the finest game on the planet, and so hopefully insist their school teach it. CWB is all about sustainability, both in HIV/AIDS awareness and cricket, so if we can get to a point where cricket gets on to the syllabus we will know we have made lasting change.

The major agent for cricket development in this part of Kenya, Nakuru, is the incredible coach/cricket development officer/wicket kepeper batsman David Odihambo. The man is one of the finest, most inspirational coaches we have ever seen, and he is the guy who will be delivering cricket development 52 weeks a year – and it’s clear he is doing a brilliant job.

On Tuesday the team took cricket into two local schools, where we were greeted like celebrities – a crowd of 200 kids saw our arrival at the first school and it was clear many of them had never seen Europeans in the flesh before. As coaches we are in a unique position to get a message about HIV/AIDS awareness across. As a coach, you are a role model, and in a great position to re-inforce a message that children and young people might not want to hear from the usual sources – the parent, teachers and pastors – so cricket coaches are in a great position to get that all important awareness message across.

If the first two days have taught us anything, it is that the Kenyans we have worked with so far have been enthusiastic, friendly, incredibly athletic and they have had a tremendous desire to learn – the perfect students. At its core cricket is such an easy game to pick up and get into, and we’ve already seen a real potential for the game in this sports mad country.

A CWB trip is undoubtedly a learning process – there’s plenty of ways we can improve and we are eager to do so, but already we feel like we have started to get the message across.

See you soon.

Pete

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Saturday & Sunday – Gareth

Our flight landed in Nairobi on Saturday morning, following an overnight flight. Despite the tiredness, the sense of excitement and thrill was palpable – along with an overpowering dry heat. As you would expect for a country on the equator, Kenya is hot.  After 3 months of the English Winter it was more than welcome, but after two days of accumulating sunburn the novelty may soon wear off.

During our trip around Kenya we are going to be accompanied by two helpers. The Cricket Kenya representative, David, and our driver, Ibrahim. It is great to have David, a man who works every day with the Schools and the children here to guide us. Our first challenge was to try and fit our 4 large bags of cricket gear, a large cricket net, many suitcases and 7 weary travellers into our minibus. It was quite a squeeze – we can’t wait to meet the children and pass on the clothing and equipment we have brought on to the schools.

Driving through Nairobi was my first taste of an African city, and immediately I was struck by the vivid colours, of the plants, flowers, and painted on the buildings, colour bursting forth from every corner. Our route took us through the gridlock of Nairobi, where every third vehicle appears to be a minibus packed to the rafters, spewing out black exhaust fumes. After a few miles we climbed into the Central area, a plain at altitude which is rich for farming. The route out of Nairobi is lined with street vendors selling all kinds of exotic fruit and vegetables. The view was spectacular as we crossed over the highlands looking down to the Great Rift Valley, towards Nakuru, our destination.

Speaking to Ibrahim, it was clear that we have quite a task to sell cricket to the locals. He, like many others in Kenya are football mad, and on the streets you see Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United shirts in abundance. When we arrived at Rift Valley Sports Club in Nakuru the cricket club bar was packed with people watching the Premier League football. So, stage one of our initiative starts here, we unloaded our cricket net and began testing it out. Within a few minutes, these strange Englishmen playing their new game had attracted some curious glances, within half an hour around a dozen local kids were running round – learning how to bowl, bat and soon we had organised a group game of Kwik Cricket. The enthusiasm of the young children was infectious, and also it was striking how athletic many of the kids were.

Finally we returned back to our accommodation that night – and the hotel had laid on quite a reception. The balcony was filled with rose petals and the whole area transformed with red and white balloons, there were even heart shaped tablecloths. It was quite a disappointment to find this was in honour of the local cricket club and their valentine’s day party – so nothing to do with us! The loud music carried on into the night, but I was so tired I fell asleep almost instantly.

Sunday arrived, and with our cricket coaching starting Monday this was our first (and possibly only) day off and chance to explore the local environment. Nakuru is located right next to the massive Lake Nakuru National Park, and the opportunity to explore the wildlife was too great to pass up.

So, with our minivan roof propped up we went wandering along the national park routes, a series of tracks surrounding the large lake near Nakuru. I’m not a great wildlife expert, but, based on my knowledge and comments from others, the animals we saw included Rhinos, Giraffes, Lions (a rare sight on any Game Reserve), Flamingos, Gecos, Waterbucks, Babboons, Zebras, Monkeys, Pelicans, Ostriches, Malibus, Rock Cyrixes, Antelopes, Ibexes, Ibises, Buffalos and  Impalas. It was quite breathtaking to be surrounded by such a mix of creatures, living wild in their natural environment. And I haven’t even mentioned, because I have no idea what they were, the multicoloured sparrows and the blue lizard with an orange head that somewhat resembled Spiderman.

My favourite animals out of these were the Buffalos, with their fantastically grumpy facial expressions, and the Rhinos, which are just immense creatures, so huge and impassive.

After this we retreated back to Nakuru town centre, for a few bottles of Tusker, the local beer which is available at 130 shillings (£1) a bottle. After a hard day in the sun, this is a godsend. The range of food on offer is fantastic, on Sunday night, hidden towards the back of a supermarket in what first appeared to be a storeroom we discovered an amazing Indian restaurant. After this it was an early night, we are coaching at a teachers college in the countryside tomorrow, I can’t wait to get started.

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