It was an early start on Thursday, as we became the first CWB team to visit Siaya, in western Kenya. Two hours after leaving Kisumu we had crossed the Equator, climbed into the hills, and moved into another world. The contrast between the bustle of the city and this rural county was huge, the small settlements nestling in the rich red earth, with views towards the mountains, and Uganda beyond.
Segere Primary school was our first stop. We shared the field with some cattle, which thankfully took very little interest in the cricket, unlike the children, who were excited to see us, and soon bowling, throwing and hitting balls.
On to Liganwa Primary, where students were sitting exams outside. Our session went like clockwork, as the children were easily the best behaved we have come across, and their initial shyness was soon overcome once they got into the different activities. We drove off from the school at lunchtime, chased down the road by a huge bunch of delighted kids – who knows, we may have met Kenya’s next champion long distance runner!
The family of Nicholas, our Kenyan leader, is from the region, and his father lives nearby. It was our great privilege to be welcomed into his home, share lunch with him in the local village, and hear about his life.
One more school, then back on the road to Kisumu. The children loved the cricket, and want to play more. We found them more shy than those we met in the city, and they were less comfortable discussing the issues around HIV, so there is plenty of work for future projects to do.
However, the feeling that we have laid the foundations for CWB to work in another area is a very special one, and the memory of our day in Siaya and the lovely people we met will certainly stay with me for a very long time.