It's safe to say that for all of us, the past two weeks have been immense fun and we have all learned something new about Rwanda, cricket, each other and ourselves. It amazes me how CWB can put together a team of relative strangers, fly them to an African country (alien for many) and asks them to speak to people in that country about complex social issues such as protecting yourself against HIV, and make it work. Yet on reflection there are two strong commonalities running through all who participate in a CWB project, we all want to help each other to make a positive difference and we are all cricket mad – that's one of the beauties of Cricket Without Boundaries.
As Team Rwanda Autumn 2013's project leader, I feel truly lucky to have met (in the case of Lee and Eric catch up with) and coached with an amazing set of people who each injected their own personality and skills into the project to make it work. This is shown when you breakdown the quantifiable outcomes of the trip (come on I am a geeky cricket scorer and statistician this has to be done!)
Over the past two weeks Team Rwanda Autumn 2013 have:
- Coached 3192 kids and young adults cricket, and given important HIV messages,
- Trained 28 new cricket coaches in Kigali and Butare/ Nyanza,
- Held its first scorers course and 15 scorers trained,
- Found, employed and mentored 2 CWB Ambassadors who will work in country to continue work between projects.
To those who were reading the blog each day thank you for your support and kind messages, they were truly appreciated.
So that some faces can be put to names, working from left to right on the photo above Team Rwanda Autumn 2013 are as follows:
Greg (G Mac) – blog editor and writer extraordinaire, working hard to ensure that the blog was updated regularly with the day's events, and amazing us all with his vast arrange of technological knowledge ( ok mainly me). His blog post on his thoughts of the trip I know touched many reading the blog and was pretty inspirational for anyone going through similar.
Steve (Teggy/ Mr Bean) – For many of the kids we coached they truly believe that they had met a celebrity in the past two weeks, having cricket coached to them by Mr Bean ( yes we know he does not look anything like him but they were insistent it was actually Mr Bean). Steve's knowledge of the game, and encyclopaedic knowledge of various coaching drills kept us, as well as the kids, stimulated and his understanding and empathy for others served the group and those he coached well.
Annette (Giggler) – As the nickname would suggest a devilish sense of humour, and queen of the killer one liner for summing a situation up perfectly. Her ability to just take on any situation with minimal hassle, made my life pretty easy as PL. A personal highlight for me was her rocking up to bowl at Butare Uni with the guys showboating their cricketing skills, smashing balls around the park to the previous bowler, and in her 2nd and 3rd ball of her over, took two consecutive caught and bowls. That was class.
Lee – Master of the hats and random catch phrases, as the trip's Tutor his guidance and reassurance in the early part of the trip to the new CWB coaches really assisted and reassured the team. Beneath the lairy Yorkshireman exterior is a man with a massive heart, who wants to see the charity and the people it works with and for, grow and grow. He was a credit to the team and indeed is to the charity, moreover he is a true legend of the game.
Eddy – Safe as houses and reliable driver around Kigali and the hilly Deep South. His enjoyment at the end of the day group hug, or nearly crushing the group especially those right next to him, was always a highlight- although not for those right next to him as they struggle to regain breath after the tight squeeze!
Liam (Chesney) – His cheeky happy personality, always put a smile on your face. Having coached with him a lot in the early part of the trip, his willingness to throw himself into the coaching and random dance moves was quality, as was getting 40 kids doing the sprinkler dance move during a fielding drill at GS Apred School. As Lee's room mate the banter between them was always lively, absolute top guy.
Marissa – Our overseas star, whose enthusiasm for cricket and to see kids having fun and enjoying themselves was infectious. Keeping the street kids in a Nyanza occupied by doing a haka, then a yoga class, as well as teaching them Barmy Army songs, will forever stick in the mind. Her piece on Girl Power was truly insightful, and along with Liam her work on the monitoring and evaluation during the trip will be invaluable as we seeks to develop the charity.
Paula (Pee) – Thank you for putting up with my random noises, expressions and singing as my room mate! Always there for a smutty innuendo comment, and always eager to be involved and helping out wherever she can. Her encyclopaedic knowledge of most sports was impressive, as was her ability to recite nursery rhymes at a drop of a hat to keep the younger children entertained. Cheers Doris!
Audi (#Pharrell) – Chief cheerleader, Dj and awesome cricket coach, his ability to get a crowd of kids singing, chanting and dancing was awesome. As CWB Ambassador for Butare, his organisation of the second week of coaching including a successful train the coaches day, again demonstrates that CWB have chosen their Ambassadors well. Personally for me, he reminded me that no matter what life throws at you, you have to enjoy it and do everything with a smile – properly amazing coach.
Hirwa Eric (The Big Man) – Hirwa in kinyarwandan means lucky, and for Rwanda cricket and indeed CWB we are really lucky to have this man around. Despite his size, his softly spoken voice can get 100s of rowdy and excitable school children under control with just a couple of words. His enthusiasm to get all involved and playing cricket is awesome and he commanded respect from his peers wherever he went. As one of CWB newly appointed in country ambassadors, we can be assured that the coaching and HIV messaging will continue. (Thank you for all the work you do for women's cricket in Rwanda, you are again another true legend).
Thanks all it was a blast and hope to see you on forthcoming trips.