Karongi Festival

By Pete Lamb (aka Lamber)

Wednesday was our first festival of the trip which also signalled the end of our time in Karongi. The day would start however with a visit to two more schools to continue spreading our messages as far and wide as possible.

The initiative shown a day earlier, with a school cancellation leading to re-visits to others in the area, would be required again throughout the day regardless of only having one team member who’d ever been to a festival before. It turns out the team do initiative very well.

Coaching 280 children before 10 in the morning may sound a slightly daunting prospect, but it seems this is now being taken into everyone’s stride as sessions become more seamless by the hour. It’s clear to see why everybody is enjoying the experience, once aboard the bus en route to the next school conversation is rife about individual stories that really held onto coaches, each sharing what happened during their activity. ‘They throw the ball hard!’, ‘How do they pick it up so quickly’, ‘She really led the way’ all part of conversations as the Muzungu bus rides on.

“We can use this space” said the teacher as he took a man a sock and slider combo back along the path towards the community gates to show him the area the school regularly use for physical activity.

The reaction from Spav was similar to that of the children around him who group by group were spotting the footwear situation he had going on. “It’s basically a quarry” was the analysis of the offered playing area, which turned out to be a hugely accurate description.

Sometimes situations scream opportunity, and the chance to throw cricket balls through enourmous worn truck tyres was one of these moments.

Onto Karongi festival which saw 10 teams take part in a primary and a secondary event, both producing some incredible hitting, fielding and teamwork practiced in the day’s leading up to this. Play, learn, celebrate, commiserate, galvanise, laugh, organise and enjoy. All clear to see throughout the afternoon by our tired team.

CWB’s debut in Karongi will be remembered for the children’s willingness to embrace a sport they had never played before so quickly and with so much passion, the incredible views through the hills and over Lake Kivu, and the positive approach of many teachers to get involved in sessions where possible with the intention of making cricket more sustainable in the region – something that cannot be achieved by us alone. It’s seems we must be doing something right.

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