A day of contrasts and surprises, of cricketing nuns, a tea factory and a chaotic coaching session on a field overlooked by a prison. We started at Centre Scolaire Noel Nyundo, a Roman Catholic school, where we were greeted by our coaching group marching onto the pitch and singing a song about Napoleon. A rewarding session followed, the climax of which was the sight of the nun who is headmistress joining in and eagerly scampering round the wickets in her robes. We were also treated to a tour around the school which went down in age as low as nursery school children.
For me, it was a first and a source of some pride to be swapping email addresses and mobile numbers with a nun. We were then shown round the school and played with the adorable nursery children – and left a long term legacy by having the school tortoise named after Gabbie (and who could be more appropriate – a tough shell and a soft heart!).
In the afternoon, we visited Pfunda Tea Estate and saw the leaves being cut up, dried, fermented and sorted with a tasting of the finished product which gets sold to Taylor’s Teas amongst others. We then moved on to GS (Groupe Scolaire) Nyakiliba and the pitch overlooked by a prison with groups of fluorescent jacketed curious prisoners working in the fields.
A frantic game of quick fire cricket just about retained order despite language issues and some smart members of the fielding side infiltrating themselves into the batting lineup. It took us an embarrassingly long time to spot that the line of players waiting to bat never seemed to get shorter.
Our final stop was at GS Sanzare St Aloys where we were met by a group of 190 desperately excited youngsters. Somehow we managed to get them into groups and run batting, bowling and catching training. And Frankie absolutely nailed his first introduction of a session getting enthusiastic bellowing of the ”ABCT” from his audience. A great achievement. This was followed by another session for the younger years who had just finished their teaching for the day including a hilarious session of ”heads shoulder knees and toes” which the kids had clearly never encountered before.