After waking up at 7:30 I strolled up to the hotel bar for breakfast. In contrast to the UK the streets were full, the buzz and energy from local Rwandans immediately transferred preparing me for another full day of coaching. We set off to the first school Cyarwa PS at 8:30. This school was located 30 minutes outside of Huye. It became clear on route that we were travelling into a more deprived and poverty stricken area.
When we arrived at the school we immediately started preparing a variety of cricket stations. Me and Jamie coached bowling firstly to P3/P4 students. The pupils started to grasp the concept of abstaining from bending their bowling arm, I then heard the school bell for break. This led to our bowling session now having 80 pupils rather than the original 25, with tennis balls and equipment flying everywhere. We managed to collect all the balls and equipment in and moved on to relay races which allowed everybody to take part with little risk attached.
As the first session at this school had finished and our half of the playgrounds had now emptied I noticed a few children jumping over the school wall. I walked over to them with a tennis ball in hand (which immediately got their attention, obviously) and it was clear from the offset they knew very little English. I started throwing them catches and giving lots of Hi fives which they loved.
Once the second session had begun the older age group arrived and the small children started to get knocked and barged about. At this point I went and sat on the grass and the children followed, I didn’t really know what to do as the language barrier was clearly a problem. I ended up teaching the classic Suite life of Zac and Cody handshake which I still do with my brother now.
From this I somehow managed to teach the kids a classic game of duck duck goose. This was another little game which they thoroughly enjoyed, probably due to the fact they saw me as an outsider and purely on what I saw today everybody normally ignores them. Whilst coaching these children who clearly don’t have the same opportunity to learn as others, I felt really proud that I put a smile on their faces in result making me more confident talking to pupils even if the language barrier is evident. Just before going to coach the next session Nina came over and gave the now 15 kids that had jumped over the wall a lollypop. The children then went onto swap lolly’s with each other ensuring they got to taste every flavor. This again shows that something so little such as a lolly or a tennis ball can make such an impact to a Rwandan child.
One of the girls in Brads sessions had collapsed after Eric took her back home he later discovered that she had malaria. This showed to all us to coaches that although HIV and AIDS is a big problem in Rwanda it is not the only one. This girl had been strongly advised not to go to school due to the strength of malaria tablets she was prescribed however she wanted to attend school and learn.
The next challenge was trying to leave the school, almost immediately after packing up all the kit the bus was surrounded by hundreds of pupils. In the end a few tennis balls were sacrificed allowing Eddie to drive off without inflicting any injury.
Once we returned to the hotel we had dinner, for anybody traveling to Huye I would recommend the potato samosa and jacket potato on a stick which incredibly only cost 40p.
After having yet another carbo-load me, Brad and Jaime had the energy for a kick about in Huye’s football stadium. After sneaking through a small gap in the gate we were on to the Astro for a game of two touch finishing. Obviously I won as it’s a game I’ve played for years haha (Sam you know the score!!!).
We then return just on time for the afternoon session at a secondary school called Kabutare.
To conclude I would like to say so far I have enjoyed every minute of my time in Rwanda even though I have received constant abuse for looking twelve and Hu**ers***ld winning promotion the premier league. So far we have worked extremely well as a team at times in difficult environments and situations it’s essential.
Hope everybody is okay at home and not missing me too much…
Thanks for reading