gorillas and gripes

After a challenging couple of days coaching at over 7000ft, The restbite of a 9:40am meet (and consequent lie in) was a welcome relief to most of the volunteers… I say most because for some unknown reason Jack tried to get us all to join his new running club in the morning. Whilst most of us were tucked up in bed or savouring the hotel breakfast, Joe and Danny decided to join Jack on a 5k run. 

 Soon they would come to regret their decision as the 6000ft altitude, coupled with a distinctly average diet of beer, gin, samosas and brochettes, took its toll on the intrepid adventurers. Jack bowed out after a valiant effort, running almost 4k – however, Danny and Joe made it to 5k and were somehow functional when it came to the meet. 

9:40am would soon come and the crew were boosted by a welcome surprise: the Rwandan sunshine. Whilst the forecasts had predicted a 90% chance of rain, the evidence suggested otherwise. In addition to this pleasant surprise, Danny’s sunburnt calves made an appearance after two days of hiding. Spirits were high and the sun was shining, what could be better?

Our school for the morning, GSKawaya, had a large, if bumpy, field well catered for our coaching demands, as well as over 150 primary and 150 secondary school kids keen for coaching. After practicing “rapid fire” with the primary school children, we split into our groups and practiced our batting, bowling, catching and throwing alongside our ABCTTS (Abstain, Be Faithful, Condom, Test, Treatment, Stigma) message with the secondary kids.

Simon ‘testing’ secondary on their ‘ABCTTS’

Following a quick lunch, the predicted thunderstorm rolled in – as someone who has grown up in North Wales, such rain was nothing new… but for cricket, such conditions, as we are all too aware of by now, are very unsuitable. After a 15 minute drive up a very bumpy off road track, we were blocked at the school gate due to one key issue: the entire playing area was flooded. Ultimately, there was no hope of playing cricket unless everyone had waders. 

After a swift 14-point turn, it was straight back up the bumpy road, we found ourselves en-route to the Kwita Izina Site, where, each year, baby gorillas are named  in a ceremony. The beauty (as well as the fact that it was at 7600ft) of the site took our breath away. 

Most of the team in a traditional hut entrance

We then headed to our final, and quickly arranged destination of the day – A return to Sonrise High School. The clouds were ominous as we approached and sure enough, just as we entered the school, the rain began to fall… however, that was not the key issue. As the clouds cleared I found myself getting light headed due to a lack of hydration (and sleep) And was told to return to the bus to have a nap. Soon, I was woken by Thom to find that Sam, whilst bowling to Eric, had rolled his ankle. 

Sonrise High School has some surprising students!

All in all, a mixed day – one that comprised of two good sessions but ended with two lads in the minibus with various ailments. We can only hope that tomorrow sees a little better luck. Simon

rwanda2019 Written by: