Musings from days 3 and 4.
Thinking back, I’m not entirely sure what thought processes led me to fill in the application form to become a cwb volunteer. Do I regret it? Not one bit. I’m just going to share some initial impressions, and touch on what we’ve been up to on days 3 or 4.
The children have an insatiable appetite for fun. Be that singing, dancing, chanting or just running about. They don’t need an iPhone 6s to have a good time. *insert grumpy old git remark here*. This morning (day 3) as our bus arrived at a primary school we were greeted by 300 or so beaming smiles, banging on the bus, shouting “good morning”. Temporarily, we were superstars in our own sell out show. It felt amazing, and hopefully the drills and games, with the ABC T messages, had an impact on their lives.
The children ask very odd questions. Such as “in the U.K., why do you have to pay to own a dog?”. The troop are keeping a tally on who can collect the most new girlfriends/boyfriends. Hope is currently in the lead.
But their inquisitive nature can work to our advantage in allowing us to speak to them about their awareness of AIDS and the means of preventing it. I’ve been struck by how well they respond to, and can recall the messages, but the challenge is in helping them to understand what they mean. “be faithful” is a particularly tricky one to get across: this afternoon (day 4), one lady ask me to marry her. Naturally, this was a welcome confidence boost, but it was quickly back down to earth with a bump on hearing Rob had already had the same request from the same lady, not 5 minutes earlier.We’re going to need to adapt to the terrain and the playing area that we are greeted with. The pitches are hardly as flat as pancakes. But it doesn’t matter. On days 3 and 4 we had to hold sessions in a small hall as it was raining, we had 60 children competing one another, with games such as “bat and spoon”. Such fun, and shows a little space can go a long way. The kids and I were introduced to “dabbing”. I’m still trying to work out what it is. But they loved it.
I can’t dance, but it doesn’t really matter. Verbal communication can be a challenge: some of the children we’ve come across speak fairly good English, but we’re also relying on a stock of Kinyarwandan phrases that we’re trying to pick up on the hoof. It means that non-verbal communication is important, and it seems the common language here is dance. My hips haven’t moved in 28 years, but for this trip, with a little WD40, they’ve managed to loosen up a bit and the children seem to find it fairly amusing. Not quite sure why.It has rained spectacularly a couple of times so far. When it does, there is nothing quite like it.
The children have no regard for road safety, or indeed, safety. Our minibus, driven by the mercurial Eddie, is our safe haven. When we leave schools, it becomes an automotive pied piper and the children love chasing it down the street. This shot captures it quite well.Finally, the group are working well together. It can be quite physically demanding, but it is so good to enjoy a cold beer at the end of a long day and witter in good company.