Following our successful afternoon yesterday with Kagarama Secondary School, the BBC saw a coaching session which would resemble a coaching session in the UK; a large flat playing field, a cricket square and around 70 kids to coach. This morning the BBC saw what is more akin to a usual CWB session at Kabusunzu Primary and Secondary school; a compact playing area, on a slope, with a rocky playing surface and the number of children starting at around 120 and swelling to around 200 odd as more kids come over to join in. For the team who relish in seeing kids out playing cricket, with big beaming smiles, which in turn provides a perfect fun environment to speak about the ‘A,B, C’ we could not have asked for the more perfect situation for the BBC film crew to see.

Upon entering the school Richard, the BBC camera man, tries to take a shot of the playing area but he is instantly surrounded by kids eager to see what is going on and wanting to be on camera. Seeing the funny side of it, Jules corrals the group of kids surrounding the Camera to say ‘Jambo BBC’ (Hello BBC in Swahili), which they all do with big ear to ear grinds and waving arms.  

The coaching session follows its usual pattern of a cricket and HIV/AIDs introduction before going into the coaching drills, followed by a game of kwik-cricket. We are lucky today to be joined by Vincent, the school’s PE teacher, who is a trained coach for ‘Right to Play’ – a charity organisation which seeks to promote the development of children in the developing world by playing sport. As a football and basketball coach by profession, Vincent provides Ed, Lee and around 30 children with a Right to Play coaching session and the CWB team in turn gives him an introduction into cricket and how we weave HIV/ AIDs awareness messages into our sessions. This additional coaching station at our session in Kabusunzu allows more kids to be involved in the day’s activities, and with Ange, Mike, Kevin, Jim, Carl, Andre, Anton (former Rwandan Women’s Cricket captain) and Don, manning the actual cricket coaching sessions and Jules, Eric and Lee providing warm ups for the kids about to be coached, the BBC obtain a perfect insight into how a coaching session can be run with around 200 kids in a confined area.

As with all our coaching sessions so far we close with the message that when batting in cricket, much like life, you only get one chance and you need to protect yourself, so be aware and practice your  HIV ‘A, B, C’. Up until today this was usually delivered by Carl, with Eric or Ange, providing Kirywandan translation. Today Andre and Anton do the close in Kirywandan. The impact of this, which if you think about it – two national sportspersons, speaking to the kids in their language about HIV really holds resonance and the captive audience, excited by an afternoon of playing sport, are for the first time today, relatively quiet as they listen to the important messages being delivered.

As we go away from the session, excited that we have successfully delivered a session to one of the largest groups so far, we realise that we have a two hour window where we are not due to be doing anything before the sun goes down. Knowing that our time out in Rwanda is coming to a close, we take an executive decision to go to the Rwandan Orphans Project (admittedly our third visit this tour and to be fair this place is awesome to come and play) for one final visit and to say goodbye to everyone. As we enter into the Orphanage, we are met by Jenny, Sean, Alex and all the kids who are excited that the ‘cricket guys’ have come again, and we return to the playing field out the back to play 3 large games of cricket until the sun sets over Kigali – if we could have found enough candles and matches we would have been up for Rwanda’s first a day night cricket match with the kids here.

If reading this was not enough to take in as to what a typical day of a CWB volunteer is like (as I have been writing these blogs I am not sure that there can be a typical day but hope this gives an insight!), sitting at the back of the Steady Eddie’s bus, taking the slow trudge back home in Kigali’s rush hour, current Rwandan leading run-scorer Don de Dieu Mugisha, who has been coaching with us today, turns around to Ed, completely out of the blue, and says in true Don style quite nonchalantly; ‘Do you know that two years ago I had never played cricket before, until I played for the first time with you. Now I am the country’s leading run-scorer’. As Ed congratulates him on his batting achievements this year, the rest of us start to take in what a positive role CWB has out here and we wonder whether one of the 270 kids we have coached today, or indeed during this trip, will be saying that to CWB volunteers on a future tour to Rwanda.