Only one word that can describe today: epic! As a first-time volunteer, yesterday was brilliant for learning and growing my confidence but today was the day I realised “I can do this!” – having been Leigh’s lungs for a morning organising ‘rapid fire’, taught 80 this afternoon to protect their stumps and abstain from hitting it in the air during kwik cricket, led countless groups of up to 25 marching around fields chanting “ABC! CWB!”, and learned the power of balloons in providing fun for young orphans.
We started the day only nine hours ago (though it feels like 36 hours!) at Kericho Primary School, which CWB visited for the first time a year ago. After a very warm welcome from the headteacher, it was straight into the action, with 150 10-13 year-old kids rotating between six skills stations around the large field. There was no time for “watch and learn” today for us newbies – Philip led catching drills, Max organised the ‘cone strike’ bowling game, and I marshalled game of ‘rapid fire’ (where batting teams of 6 hit balls off cones simultaneously and run until the fielders put all the balls back in place) while Leigh, nursing a sore throat from yesterday’s exertions, kept score by counting high-fives. It was great to see one of the teachers who attended yesterday’s coach education session volunteering to lead a station and he had the kids enthusiastically playing ‘hit the stumps’ with almost no input from us. After two hours, the kids were nearly as exhausted as we were, but had enough energy to join Philip in an epic selfie and to belt out an enthusiastic chorus of Shakira’s “Waka Waka”, led by Leigh who mysteriously seemed to have rediscovered his voice by this point. I’m not sure Kenyan bandwidth is going to let me upload the video, but I’m going to try as it was simply awesome to be part of…. and none of us is going to get “Waka Waka” out of our heads for months! Soundtrack for the trip video = sorted.
Before we headed off, we were treated to lunch of meat stew and rice and a view from the stage of the school’s 900 pupils politely filing in for their share, served from the most enormous pans I’ve ever seen! The head was very effusive and appreciative, and encouraged us to come back next year
and Nicholas to visit soon to keep up the momentum.
We piled back into the minibus and were off to the second school of the day, Holy Trinity Academy. We set up in the field where the youngest kids were enjoying their lunch break and a group of ‘Muzungu’ (whites) with bats and balls were quite the attraction. Max and I made the rookie error of believing Leigh when he assured me there’d be no problem at all if we set up some plastic stumps in the middle of the field… within seconds, Max was surrounded by kids grabbing stumps and waving them around. Cue some impromptu dancing with stumps as props, simply to avoid them being grabbed – and, of course, fifty kids copying his every move. Turns out he’s quite the natural entertainer!
10 minutes and several dances later, the youngsters were ushered off to class and we were joined by 80 children who were ready for coaching. Cricket was completely new to them, and they were very shy with their ABCs, but it didn’t take long to have them whacking balls, throwing and catching, chanting “ABC! CWB!”, and yelling “Abstain!”, “Be faithful!” and “Protection!” (As it’s a church school, we steered clear of the usual ‘C’). Turns out they know “Waka Waka” too, with the alternative ending of “This time for Trinity”!
We finished the day at Kids International orphanage, where we provided an hour of entertainment with a couple of packets of balloons. The 20 kids (mostly aged 3-7) went mad for them, chasing and bopping them around the courtyard – and I think we had just as much fun!
A long day but a brilliant one, and the Tusker beer at the hotel felt well-earned. I’m sad to be leaving Kericho tomorrow, after one more school, but looking forward to heading to Nakuru, especially as George has promised us a tour of the nightlife in his home town! The TV news is full of horror stories about the impending arrival of El Niño, so please cross your fingers that rain doesn’t stop play. It’s been an incredible first couple of days in Kenya and I’ve caught the CWB bug good and proper! Now to get “Waka Waka” out of my head so I can get some sleep…