Never one to relinquish control of the last word, CWB first time volunteer Mat Danks looks back at Team Uganda’s two-week stay in northern Uganda – the first time the charity has visited this part of the country – as the team prepare to return to the UK…..

In just a few days Uganda will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of its independence from Britain.

You can already see the country undergoing a certain amount of introspection at this time as it looks back on the last 50 years.

It really can’t be an easy time to reflect on.

Since independence, Uganda has endured a series of bloodthirsty tyrants at its helm overseeing conflict after conflict both within its own borders and with their equally precarious neighbour states.

National, ethnic and religious divides have constantly been pushed to the point that many observers feared they could never be healed.

Idi Amin’s belligerent reign is believed to have been accountable for the fat end of a million deaths and the Lord’s Resistance Army – under the bonkers leadership of Youtube sensation Joseph Kony – and their kin have displaced another 1.6 million people.

In the light of this – and throwing a stunted economy and AIDS epidemic into the mix – you’d forgive the Ugandan people for having a bit of a chip on their shoulder.

But that’s certainly not the experience that we’ve had during our two weeks in the country – with the majority of this time in the north where the scars are freshest.

I think I can speak on behalf of my CWB Team Uganda colleagues when I say we’ve found Ugandan’s warm, friendly and respectful – albeit occasionally lackadaisical in terms of timekeeping, serving and the temperature of their beer.

There’s a feeling that the worst of what the Ugandan’s politely call ‘The Instability’ is now over and that the future is to be viewed with optimism.

Certainly, during our sessions with smiling, hardworking kids and passionate energised teachers in Lira, Gulu and Arua, it would be easy to forget the devastation of Amin and the LRA ever happened.

But occasionally, in a quite moment chatting with a teacher, you’re reminded of the horrors that have befallen these people.

You’re reminded of the child soldiers who were forced by the LRA to kill – and in some particularly harrowing cases forced to eat – their own parents.

You’re reminded of the hundreds of children and young women rounded up and sold on as sex slaves.

You’re reminded that the same young girl who is beaming with joy after having just smashed a tennis ball with a cricket bat for the first time had both her parents killed by guerilla hit squads while she was still a baby.

I suppose that’s the point – they’re trying to forget.

Teachers told us repeatedly that cricket was providing a diversion for the youngsters, some of whom have endured untold horrors in their short lives.

They are of the belief that generations-old divisions in communities can start to be repaired by sport and social stigmas can be gradually dismantled.

There’s a light-hearted quip often used on Twitter – #firstworldproblems – where we gently mock ourselves about patently insignificant problems in our relatively fruitful lives.

Mat finds a Kidderminster Harriers shirt in Arua and immediately starts missing the A449.

As someone who gets tetchy when Starbucks run out of chocolate sprinkles for the cappuccino or when daily commute to work is delayed temporarily by a learner driver, I’m certainly not one to point fingers.

Nor do I want to come over all Lenny Henry (proud fellow Dudlean though he may be).

But over the last fortnight we’ve seen some amazing things, met some amazing people and seen some amazing work being done by people in projects on the ground.

We’ve been amazed at how seriously the kids take the HIV/AIDS messages that are clearly drummed into their heads from an early age.

And we’ve seen kids who just months ago didn’t know cricket existed embracing the game with an enthusiasm that is breathtaking.

When you bear in mind what these people have been through, the troubles they’ve faced and will continue to face on a daily basis long after we’ve returned to England, it makes it all the more impressive.

I’m more convinced than ever about the work that Cricket Without Boundaries is doing and how the effort and involvement of volunteers with the requisite levels of enthusiasm and training can make a real difference.

Of course, in terms of #firstworldproblems, the downside may well be that the northern Ugandan kids of today are the fast bowlers and middle-order batsmen of tomorrow.

So, when England are struggling in a deciding ODI test series at Edgbaston in ten years time as a batsman from Arua called Wilfred who had his first taste of the sport thanks to CWB Team Uganda is smashing our bowling attack all over the ground, think of me.

Come and find me down by the Guinness stall (I’m bound to be there) and lay the blame firmly at my feet.

I'll happily take the blame for that one.