Head tutor James Savory rounds up a fantastic third day in Gulu….

To quote the lyrics of the introduction to my current favourite comedy show “.. it all started with a big bang!!” 5am to be precise that I was awoken by the most terrific clap of thunder I have ever heard. Coming from Cumbria I am well used to sleepless nights listening to the rain falling before a kwik cricket festival, mulling over the options do we play?, do we call it off? What should we do?

With the rain easing over breakfast we decided that the show must go on with the hope that a quick blast of Ugandan sunshine would dry out the potential quagmire at the Pece Stadium.

For the second day running we arrived to find the stadium gates locked, but much to our surprise we had numerous coaches and the children from Gulu Public School being faithful to the start time of 10am. Bosco and the team from the Church Mission followed soon after and our first festival match was underway. Little did we know that JB was intent on moving away from the Kwik Cricket format and decided to introduce the first timeless test to Uganda.

True to form the remainder of the schools arrived in dribs and drabs and some semblance of a festival took shape. The dream team of Shell and Yusuf actually managed to complete two full games of cricket, despite starting some 40 minutes after many of the games.

The cricketing ability on show was pleasing for all to see, the Ugandan Coaches impressive and the enthusiasm of all volunteers with their ABC both inspiring and uplifting. A successful morning all in all.

It had been made clear the previous day that there would be no schools willing to travel to the Pece Stadium for the afternoon so Lee and Grace spent much of the morning arranging to take the Mountain to Muhammed, doing a fine job in organising afternoon sessions at no less than five schools.

While organised chaos reigned, our leader John Morton proved to be the hero of the hour producing a box full of pizza much to the delight of the group en route to our afternoon destinations.

Lee, Shell and Yusuf were dispatched to St Josephs primary where the requested 30 pupils turned in to 150.

John M, JB and Mat travelled to Samuel Baker Secondary where again 30 became 85, while Nadeem, Natasha and I arrive at Gulu public just in time for Posho and Beans. We managed a 20 minute cricket session before the inspector of schools put paid to our activities and returned the children to their classes, this did however give the three off us the chance to sit in on an art and music lessons, Natasha ended up leading the class in the singing of “if you're happy and you know it clap your hands”

This was not to be the end of the cricketing activities as Nad, Natasha and I moved on to Gulu Primary where the weather closed in once more and a our two games of diamond cricket descended into an something more resembling ‘It’s a knockout’ as children and coaches alike struggled to keep there feet and went aquaplaning through puddles of water and mud. While the cricket was not comparable to the technical model, fun was had by all and more importantly the children finished the session chanting the ABC’s.

A very wet but extremely happy group of volunteers made their way back to the Bomah Hotel for the final time reflecting on a job well done in Gulu and looking forward to more of the same when we relocate to Arua tomorrow.