CWB Team Uganda first-time volunteer John 'JB' Brown outlines an eventful day of coaching and games in Lira and, rather neatly in one gorgeous annecdote, summarises why we're all here in the first place.


After the dramas of yesterday morning when we wisely deferred to the local police chief we had decided to return to our ‘alternative venue’. I had already felt the morning heat with an early morning visit to the Stanbic Bank, the Bank which consistently refuses to dispense money from its ATMs. Curiously the armed security guard takes some perverse pleasure in allowing you to go through the entire process of entering all your data before announcing that the machine is again empty. The futile attempt to secure cash from the Ugandan banking system is one of the few issues that continues to distract the team from its coaching task. As we had dispatched Josef with his bus into the hinterland to fetch children from a remote country location, we walked the short distance to the coaching venue with the circling kites casting shadows against the cloudless sky. A hard day in the sun ahead!


John Morton's attempts to get the YMCA dance craze going in Uganda met mixed results.

The stomach problems that have had a debilitating effect on almost everyone seem to be relenting and there was a spring returning to the step of several of the coaches. The pooled supplies of immodium have been seriously depleted but with only 2 days to go should hold out!

A first for me as Josef’s bus returned and as the children disembarked Iwas greeted with about twenty successive curtseys’ from some delightfully differential girls. Call me old fashioned but I quite liked it.

The schools continued to arrive as we got the coaching under way, you learn a lot quickly when you instruct as many teachers and children as we have in the last ten days. Even those with little or no previous experience are now comfortable in their roles and the drills are quickly set up and on their way. I work with Nadeem who has good empathy with the kids and is always striving to innovate. Today it was to get them to chant “Long live Uganda” in Hindu. He may not use that one again but his approach is refreshing and I hope he continues coaching when he gets home.

What is immediately apparent with the school that we are working with is that CWB method is working. The childrens’ skill level is well above the norm which is a reliable indication that the teachers have been working with them since Rich and Lee’s team were here in July. This is so encouraging and the bowling routines in particular flowed as a result.

As I take a few moments out to scan the rest of the groups and reflect on another 150 children that we are ‘processing’ you do sometimes wonder if what you are doing is making a difference? Today I had my answer. One of the teachers watching came and introduced himself. His name was Patrick and after a few questions about England he said “What you and your friends are doing here is wonderful, we have had some terrible times and are having to deal with the consequences of what some of these children have been through. Some have had to flee from the LRA with their parents and live in disease infested camps in the towns, others were abducted, were made to watch their parents being killed and taken and trained as child soldiers. To rehabilitate these children is very difficult and these kind of activities where they participate with the other children are so important. We are so grateful to you for giving up your time to do this. I have only one message, please, please keep coming”

I do not think I have anything else that I could possibly say.