In just over a week I along with my fellow team members have experienced many incredible moments.
Within a couple of hours of touching down we visited the Genocide Memorial Museum in Kigali. I was completely absorbed by the place be it the mass graves containing the remains of more than 250000 people to the story that is told before, during and after the Genocide.
Young kids in Rwanda just want to play, have a sense of belonging and to be loved. Nothing could illustrate this more so than our visit to the Rwandan Orphanage Project. You are greeted by kids with beaming smiles who have had incredibly difficult starts in life and ended up on the streets of Kigali surviving day to day and for some as young as 3 years old. One example amongst many includes a boy called Patrick who, aged four years old at the time, was found checking himself into a school of his own accord. What is being done here is nothing short of incredible. A tour around the orphanage demonstrates the incredible work being done by Sean and Jenny and their team, but also highlights the challenges they continue to face. It brought a lump in my throat when I saw the dormitories and how the boys sleep two to a bed top to toe. Nevertheless give these boys a few bats and balls to play with and what might initially look like chaos soon becomes a scene where they organise themselves into groups and play. There is no squabbling between them as they share and help one another with smiles and laughter everywhere on the small field.
The visits to schools has been a wonderful experience throughout. If I had to pick a highlight it would be Fawe Girls. These girls are truly lovely and just like boys they enjoy playing games and they have a competitive streak too. We used a basketball court that in many areas had holes where the surface was disintegrating. Our second visit there was after heavy rain and these holes were filled with water along with other areas of the court being flooded. These girls just threw themselves into the session, getting wet and muddy and for some who fell and hurt themselves within a few seconds they dusted themselves down and continue to play. As for our HIV messages they listened and participated intently. One young lady asked me to explain the link between the ABCs and cricket, another young lady who was the president of the school AIDS club asked if we could revisit for their next meeting. The girls also asked how they could play more cricket and this epitomizes what CWB is doing in Africa.
Over the time we have been in Rwanda the team has become very close, not just the team from the UK but also Eric, Audi (pronounced Odie) and Eddie at the Rwanda end. Throughout the trip there are countless instances of fabulous teamwork and showing care toward others.
And late breaking news we are returning to Fawe school on our penultimate day, this Friday, for their next AIDS club meeting. I am over the moon…