After a rough day of sunstroke, I rose to the challenge of waking up at half past 7 this morning, which was the hardest day yet out of the 5 days of coaching here, due to lots of sun and a great deal of dehydration.
Today was a big day, as it was the cricket festival here in Huye, where children from 6 different schools had the chance to represent themselves in a 4-hour tournament. The tournament was scheduled to begin at half past 8, however out of the 8 schools which were supposed to compete, only 1 had turned up on time. This caused a slight (2 hour) delay, where we played with the local children and managed to catch up on the rules of cricket (as not many of us knew how to play exactly…).
We managed to finally begin the tournament when 5 out of the 8 schools arrived at the grounds. The games started off as cricket-like play, but slowly began to resemble actual cricket. At this point, the sun peeked out from behind the clouds, creating a scorching heat, making the day more difficult than it already was. After a staggered start, we all gained momentum and the games ran more smoothly, making it more enjoyable for both us and the children. After a couple games, another school turned up, who were quickly matched up against another school. The tournament lasted 4 hours, in which we had to improvise and change the rules several times to make it more fun and simple.
Our ambassador Joseph had managed to organise a testing facility for the festival manned by a tester, a counsellor, a representative of the local hospital and numerous local medical students.
A PA system was set up at the entrance to the festival to publicise (very loudly) that testing was open to the public and free. It clearly had the desired effect with a queue of people waiting to be tested throughout the festival. It clearly showed that the local population were keen for to be tested if they were given access to facilities as we were visitors by students, taxi drivers, teachers, market traders and shop workers. By the end of the day, 84 people had been tested and now benefit from knowing their status.
Improvising and being put on the spot has been a big part of coaching here as we are never completely sure how many children there will be. Each day has presented a new challenge such as not having the right number of kids and being swarmed by a group of enthusiastic kids wanting to be coached or the language barrier between us and a lot of the Rwandan natives.
All in all, the tournament was a success, as all teams managed to play 4 games and everyone enjoyed themselves. The teachers and coaches were super helpful during the tournament, helping us enforce the rules and translate to the kids. To conclude the tournament, all the children sat down in the shade, where Joseph delivered the HIV related messages. The winners were then announced and presented with their medals and trophy!
To conclude the day, RCA (Rwanda Cricket Association) and CWB were kind enough to provide food and drinks for all the participants, teachers, the local children and even us! Another fantastic day in Rwanda!