Our last full day of coaching in Rwanda saw us reach a milestone – we finish having taught 4,084 children cricket skills and HIV prevention messages. Although we believe the true figure to be nearer 5,000 if all the unofficial school and street children are included.
We started at a new school in Kigali in a 33degree sun trap of a playing ground down a steep hill. With the majority of us melting, Eric lead two amazing bowling sessions for both primary and secondary; mostly without using any balls.
Following a quick lunch the team went on to the next school (Kigali camp) for more coaching and ABCs. They then visited the Sisters of Mother Teresa Orphanage where we donated our remaining clothes, colouring books and pencils and of course tennis balls.
More than confident the rest of the team had everything under control, I snook off for some meetings during the afternoon. I first met with Cricket Builds Hope, another charity using cricket to do some amazing things in Rwanda who we hope to work with more and more. Followed by a return visit to see Michael from the University of Rwanda to discuss the possible research proposal in more detail. A scenic motorbike taxi saw me returned to solace guesthouse to await the return of the team and a final team hug (squeeze) with Eddie and Eric.
Over the last supper together at an excellent £3 buffet we reflected on our favourite schools and memories from the trip. I think everyone had something that will stand out for them; a key conversation, a myth busted, a special girl or boy at a school or orphanage. But above all I think I will remember the millions of excited smiley faces having fun, loving cricket and shouting the words “abstain”, “be faithful” and “condom” louder than I ever thought possible.