Saturday and Sunday were days off; one a scheduled break for the team and the other a travelling day given there are no schools available at the weekend.
Saturday saw a game of cricket played on a decidedly “iffy” wicket at Rift Valley Sports Club against a touring team and out of courtesy the home side offered the opportunity to some of Englands finest visiting amateur cricketers to play in the fixture. A couple of points about that statement: 1) “out of courtesy” really should be read as “having seen the state of the pitch” and 2) some of Englands finest visiting amateur cricketers sadly weren’t available so our volunteers Sam Rose and Max Winchester were asked to play instead (after Collette and Sarah, the first choices, had politely refused, having seen the state of the pitch!). The home side batted first, and Sam Rose, on the back of a 2015 domestic season with Wing CC averaging 49 with two tons, confidently tucked the first ball off his legs for a single to get the scoreboard running. Shortly after, a confident pull followed and another ton was on the cards. Anyway, the pitch did, inevitably, offer much assistance to the bowlers and wickets tumbled with great regularity. Rose was strangled down the leg side and various colleagues perished with him, only CWB local coach George Owino prospering to top score with 18 (adopting “see it, hit it” tactics, which was probably the right way to go if you played straight, which George did). That won him 1000KS off Sam, who foolishly wagered that he would outscore the young buck in local conditions-schoolboy error!! Max showed some class during his second-top-score of 4, with a nice cut shot to get off the mark and a tidy clip for two off his legs but perished trying to hit a rank long hop into Tanzania, scooping a high catch to an eager fielder. Our Maasai Warrior Daniel Ole Mamai, playing as a guest for the opposition, picked up a couple of wickets, and bowled with decent pace, and even treated our Kenyan international Mary Wambui to some chin music (“sniff the leather, girl”, he was heard to say. Nice bloke). 47 all out.
The response was fairly brutal. Having offered some wise counsel to our side that it would be advisable on this pitch to bowl back of a length and get the opposition driving, even enticing them with a tight inner ring, a good few close catchers and only a couple out, we proceeded to bowl about half a pitch back of a length and paid the price. I wont embarrass Rosey by describing his buffet bowling, but we lost in the end by 7 or 8 wickets (I lost interest to be honest) although Sam did take a fine slip catch and Max a very assured pouch at mid on to a skyer that was very droppable. Great fun and thankfully/miraculously no one died.
Back to business in the afternoon. Sam paid a visit to the home of Isaac, a young quick bowler he sponsored following his last visit to Kenya in March 2014, and that was an opportunity to impress upon Isaacs family the importance of him knuckling down at school and in his sport. He’s a nice young man. The rest of us returned to the Emmanuel Good Hope Orphanage to deliver some mattresses, blankets and cooking utensils and to play with the adorable kids who live there in less than ideal conditions but under the care of the excellent Gerald Etoo. This was a fantastic thing to be part of, firstly seeing the second dormitory being kitted out so the kids can move away from being packed 8 to a bed, and secondly to just be able to give a child a hug and some love for a couple of hours and play some games. Moving, is all I can say….
The day was capped off by a meal under the stars at George’s house as guests of his family and we were treated to an exceptional spread. A good time was had by all.
Sunday saw us enjoy a safari at Lake Nakuru National Park and although the lions were a little elusive (got them eventually but they were a long way away and we weren’t inclined to walk off track to get any closer) and the hippos and Rhinos refused to show themselves, a good time was had by all ahead of the 2 hour trip to Murang’a. 5 hours and a mechanical breakdown later we arrived at the Golden Palm Breeze Hotel, the scene of the elusive fried egg escapade in March 2014 (those that were there will remember it) and Sam Rose couldn’t resist Sausage Egg and Chips for dinner, wondering if this time the egg would make it to us on the same day that it was ordered. Oh ye of little faith! Of course it did, its just the sausage were waiting for….Dont you just love Kenya!
Monday will see a return to coaching in schools in Murang’a and it will be interesting to see how much has stuck following our visit last March.