Myself (Ed Williams) and Lee Booth landed in Entebbe airport early yesterday morning, fresh from transiting through one of the more average international airports, Kenyetta Airport in Nairobi. Meeting up with Rich Davies the third member of the team, we headed into Kampala, in the process being reunited with African capital city traffic being casually manouevered around by policemen in fresh white uniforms. We were due in Kampala for a short press conference before heading off to Northern Uganda, nothing like 30 hours travel on the bounce. The Press conference was organised by the UCA to showcase this UK Sport/ICC funded project for which CWB is the delivery partner for the coach education. The idea is to re-introduce cricket into the North of Uganda, which has been ravaged by war and the infamous Lords resistance army. It is a 3 year project. The newly qualifed coaches that we will teach will take cricket into the schools and orphanages, know many will have child soldiers whose lives have been traumatised by this conflict.

The press conference was an intertesting affair. Probably in one of the darkest rooms with some of the worst acoustics. Although Rich did his best to distract proceedings by knocking his strategically placed Pepsi painfully close to the microphone the UCA were able to set out the basis of their project. I threw myself into explaining what CWB is about and why we are here and most importantly making the point that we are all here as volunteers. We didn’t want them to think that we were taking money from the project. having survived having several cameras in my face i chatted to one of the journalists, who warned me that people in the North have had a tough time and can be quite defensive.

Straight after the press conference we were driven to Kampala central bus station, the classic African bus station. We had prepared ourselves for travelling on local transport and for the “5 hour” journey, but even the seasoned Africa travellers amongst us were taken back by the Gaga bus line. The seats were coated in a plastic lino and the
ceiling had a carpet that looked like it had been lifted from a curry house in Leicester. 5 hours sweating into the lino seats and the jarring and bumping of the road to Lira was something that none of us want to repeat in a hurry. I fear the Gaga line may still play a part in our travels.

We arrived in Lira just before dusk. First impressions were off a bustling provincial town, with not much electricity and lots of bicylce taxis ferrying big middle aged ladies and refrigerators on a small rear seat.after the bus journey we were sweaty, thirsty and tired, the Lira international hotel was a godsend. Running water in the shower, mosquito net and an open air dance floor, the African holy trilogyAfter a decent 8 hours kip, having made use of the open air dancefloor, we set off for day 1 of the coach education course at the Lira sports stadium (photos to follow of the “stadium”). We had 26 names on the list. In true african style we had 11 for the start and 32 by the end of the day. All of the adults are teachers who have never seen cricket before. Apart from the time keeping the teachers are enthusiastic, fun and really keen to learn. As with all CWB projects AIDS awareness messages were intergrated right at the start. This seems even more relevant as the papers were full of headlines about the AIDS rate shooting up in Uganda. The feeling on the ground is that this is due to more people going for testing.

Lira is a place where some of the local bars have signs outside telling you to leave your AK47 outside. It seems so tranquil for a war zone, though the signs are a reminder of the towns unfortunate past. But it is a friendly and relaxing place and we are safe and well looked after. The UCA have organised an excellent project