Festival fun

Our last day in Huye was scheduled to be a festival day, with several of the schools we have coached at during the previous few days coming together for an inter-schools competition.

The logistics of organising schools to travel to a ground and back, providing over 100 children with food and water, and all on a Saturday, cannot be underestimated.

It is fair to say that my experiences of festival days has been mixed in my many visits to Rwanda. Competitions that were due to start at 9am often still had empty fields well past 10 and then the only schools that would show up would be those within walking distance of the ground.

This time was different, 5 secondary schools were all present, correct and ready to start playing soon after we had set up the 4 pitches at Kabutare school.

A real highlight of our time in Huye has been our access to secondary schools.

These are always more difficult to arrange to visit, but they present fantastic opportunities to use cricket to engage young people in engaging and real discussions around HIV and other social issues.

All of the credit for this organisation has to go to our incredible ambassadors who continue the work in country when we are not here. Mary has been our link to Huye for the past 3 years and it is clear to see the impact that she has had, not only in the logistics of the festival but more importantly in the level of cricket that was being played. There were no lengthy explanations of the rules needed, very few comical run outs and only 1 or 2 bowling actions that would make the ICC suspicious.

What was also in evidence was the young peoples knowledge around HIV and how to protect themselves and loved ones, as well as crucial messages rejecting stigmatisation of those with HIV.

For the record Regina Pacis came out as winners in the boys tournament, with their girls team only just missing out on completing the double on runs scored behind a very strong team from Cyarwa SS.

As ever cricket was not the sole focus of the day and in between scoring and umpiring duties all of the Trinity students took time to sit with the teams who were waiting to play their next game and many discussions and demonstrations on condom use were on display.

A teacher’s comment that he had never used a condom himself but now having been shown how to use one correctly he would teach it in his biology lessons was a real reminder of how small things can have a big impact.

Being out on the field with the 5 students from Trinity has been a real pleasure, their energy and enthusiasm has been infectious but the really impressive part has been how they have bought into CWB’s philosophy of using sport as a vehicle for change. Watching them today have what at times could be difficult or potentially embarrassing conversations was impressive to say the least.

[youtube_sc url=”https://youtu.be/jwm_lfooGj8″]

Less impressive was their attempts to win the inter-schools dance off which spontaneously erupted after the final match had taken place, hopefully video proof of this will be posted shortly.

A final mention has to go to the DJ who somehow managed to get his system up and running despite there being no obvious source of power in a half a mile radius. That being said, 8 plays of Swalla-la-la by Jason Derulo and Nicki Minaj is enough for anyone in a day.

Sadly Mary has recently left her role as CWB ambassador as her studies in Huye have been completed. She has, however, been employed by the Rwandan Cricket Association as general secretary, a role that will keep her involved in the game and allow her passion for the sport to continue to inspire others.

Thanks Mary, it has been a pleasure to work and coach with you on several projects and I look forward to working with you in your new role in the future.

I would also like to thank Joseph and Eric for the work that they have put in during our week in Huye, it couldn’t have gone any better and it has been great to see how the game has developed in the last 3 years since we started spending time in the region. The hope now is that a combined team from Huye can travel to Kigali to participate in the national schools competition. I am also hopeful that Joseph can continue to grow the game in the region with the backing of future CWB projects: hard ball cricket has to be next on the agenda.

Despite 5 hours out in the heat everyone insisted on another trip to Centre Nyampinga orphanage and not even a classic african rainstorm could prevent another fun hour with the children there.

Tomorrow is a travel day as we head east to Kayonza so no blog tomorrow but let’s see what monday brings.

One Comment

  1. Alyson robinson
    June 4, 2017

    U write with so much passion son so so proud of u love u loads xx

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