First day in Arua;tutoring the teachers:

I don’t want to break tradition so I will start with a quote: “If E=MC2, where do Jelly Babies come from?” In answer to this question my very clever 2 and a half year old nephew answered, they come out of the box! The children here in Uganda are not as lucky as Sam to know this is where Jelly Babies come from but they are lucky in different ways; the sense of community, family and friendship is so strong here, it is not quite so difficult to appreciate their happiness. Whenever the chance arises some of us are enjoying playing with the street children who hover around the coaching sessions, keen to see what is happening. Seeing the excitement on a child’s face when a tennis ball lands in their hands really is priceless, no matter how many times I see it. I am so pleased to have been given the opportunity to come out here for a second time with CWB and this time I feel a little better equipped with cricket knowledge I gained last time (Yusuf is quite frankly the best cricket coach in the universe), having married the team tutor is just a bonus! Today we met 15/16 teachers from Arua, they were almost all on time…Ugandan time, we got going by 10:30am and the enthusiasm and skills of these teachers was notable from the start. Rich Davis and Lee Booth have clearly impacted and enthused this group in a big way. There were so many great batsmen/women and bowlers within the group, the pull shot was attempted and successfully so by the majority of them. I am proud to say that even I managed to master this shot today, despite hitting the stump which the ball was balanced on more than once before hitting the perfect shot…much to John “Foxy” Morton and Nad’s amusement!

Lunch consisted of bread, jam, peanut butter (quite a luxury), cake (sadly not “Europe Type Cake, but still nice), biscuits, apples, avocado and fizzy drinks. I sat out in the rain for a cool down to eat lunch whilst the others sheltered in the bus. Often we are surrounded by children who have very little or no food, so each mouthful is appreciated by those who partake, being able to see further than our own lives and appreciate the poverty in this country hits hard at these moments.

This would be a nice moment to share how amazing our driver and protector Joseph is…he navigates the ‘cratered’ roads with such elegance that the journeys don’t seem as long as they could. Joseph ensures that we are all well each morning and evening and often comes to find us for a drink after the work has finished. Without Joseph these adventures would simply not be the same.

The afternoon went brilliantly, all of the teachers returned for the coaching and enjoyed themselves, proving themselves as fantastic cricket coaches for the children in their schools. As one of the “non-qualified” coaches of the team I could see what a high level of cricket skills these teachers possess, it was a joy to work with them for the day. We are expecting 8 groups of school children in the morning, one of which is a school for the visually impaired, which will bring new challenges that we haven’t experienced before on this journey. Having been doing the monitoring with John “Foxy” Morton on this trip, it has been overwhelming how many of these teachers had not played cricket before, yet have (since July) been coaching it in their schools more than once a week, the school for the visually impaired have been having cricket training daily! All of these cricket coaching sessions have involved HIV/Aids awareness messages and it is clear that the children have picked up on these when we hear them shouting “Be faithful to your team!” or “Protect your wicket!” The impact of CWB is clear and it is a positive one.

Dinner had been pre-ordered this morning, so we sat down at 8pm as arranged and the food arrived around 8:30pm, we were all hungry and enjoyed the array of dishes ordered. The hotel is lovely, the staff friendly and the food is good. A good nights sleep is in order, for tomorrow we coach the children!