We started the day by going to New Life Africa School and Pangani disability school. We were lucky enough to have some extra volunteers helping us with our sessions today, with locals Mary, Charity, Joseph and Quintor.
The school was located close to the National Park, so the backdrop to our coaching session was good – with the hills visible from the field we were in. The only downside to this was the heat was very much up due to us being so close to the lake! This didn’t dampen the spirits of the mighty team Kenya. In true Africa style we were expecting less then we got, but we adapted well and set up a number of stations.
Team captain Gillette Gooding delivered a great opening speech as usual and got the kids up and running with our warm up relay game, before the classes dispersed around the field to the different coaches assigned to coach different skills. I (Sam) was in charge of bowling with a game of cone-strike at the far end of the field, which proved challenging at first as my first group seemed determined to ignore being faithful to the rules and would not abstain from hurling the ball at each other at great speeds. A quick pep talk and extra explanation soon put that right!
The boys and girls were slightly cheekier then the ones we had previously coaches in Kericho, but probably due to over excitement as these children had played cricket before – and must surely have known what a fun game it can be! We finished off with some chanting and delivered our ABC messages before moving on.
Attached to the main school was a disabled school called Pangani. For me (Philip), this was my first time to see how disabled children are treated and viewed in Kenya. It was great to see so many smiling faces when we came into the classroom to say hello and a lot of the children were very communicative and understood English. The classroom was fairly basic but was arranged to look like a room in a house. This impressed me because some of the children had autistic tendencies and the fact they’re put in an environment similar to their home is hugely helpful to avoid strain as many don’t understand change.
We took a group of around 20 pupils out to play some basic games including catching, some relays and games such as duck, duck, goose. I spoke to the teacher at length about the children and whilst the majority were undiagnosed, we could clearly see what some of their conditions were. We talked about when they try normal school before going to the disabled school and it seems that many of them are kicked out after a few days as they don’t have the right/enough support in place to progress. In the UK it is more likely that they would be able to be put through normal school with the right support in place. From what the teacher said they have a great plan in place to provide jobs within the school in vocational skills such as sewing and carpentry. Therefore, when they leave school at the age of 18 this will hopefully take the strain off the parents who seem to not know what to do with their children at this point in their life.
From an educational point of view I was left disappointed that children and adults of all ages are put into the same classroom and taught at the same level regardless of age or disability. However, the enthusiasm of the teacher shone through and she hopes to get more staff in place so that the children can have a bright future whatever their disability.
After New Life Africa School and Pangani we headed off to Baharami Primary School. As soon as we pulled in through the gates the children swarmed the bus shouting and screaming, and when Nicholas stepped off the bus they told him they didn’t want him – they wanted musungu’s! Max jumped off the bus and decided we would initiate project Toure! A chorus of Yaya and Kolo Toure followed and we have video proof! We split the children into two groups, with some of them already having the knowledge to play a game of kwik cricket. The other group were at the top of the field split into 4 groups doing some batting, fielding, bowling and catching. The children were knowledgeable on cricket and making the ABC messages relevant was easy enough. We were joined by someone to do some HIV testing on the bus, with the teachers taking up this opportunity.
We went off for lunch after this, buying a range of food from Tuskys the supermarket. This proved an interesting experience for myself and Leigh, who at one thought we were on a Kenyan version of you’ve been framed due to the incredibly slow service at the tills!
After a spot of lunch we went to Virginia children’s home, an orphanage where we were greeted with screaming and enthusiasm – although that enthusiasm seemed to lack for me as when I got off the bus the girls ran away screaming, which didn’t phase me as I’m used to it back in Bedford. We had plenty of balloons and started a few informal games of cricket which can only be described as whack it. Once the girls had decided I wasn’t actually that scary, I was shown around the inside of the orphanage, and was lucky enough to be taken up to the roof to see the views which was nothing short of spectacular. Lake Nakuru and the national park was easily visible as well as being able to see the whole town. The girls then asked me why my hair was so silly and short, something which I had simply no answer for. Point taken!
The team was quite tired and weary, but we had one last school to coach at! Kenyatta Primary School was again welcoming, and they had their own cricket teacher who came out to greet us. Unfortunately, the moment we pulled the bags out of the bus the heavens well and truly opened! Rain temporarily stopped play but we kept morale high on the bus with a game of ‘heads up’. Eventually the rain passed and we managed to get around 45 minutes of kwik cricket in, ending the day with some silly dancing and singing from Leigh. The team had earned their tuskers and we headed back to the Alpine Hotel for a well needed shower!!
– Sam and Philip (the Chuckle Brothers!)