By Luke Sellers

With more than 130 children shouting the ABCs at the top of their lungs, day three in Uganda came to an ear-splitting and inspirational close at Boma School, Mbarara.

The afternoon’s coaching session – which took place on a golf course – was a heady concoction of cricket, chanting, free-style dancing and laughter which left both pupils and coaches leaving with broad smiles.

Whether this was the perfect way to leave pupils 10 minutes before an exam is up for debate but if the questions related in any way to knocking over stumps, smashing tennis balls or taking impossible catches (which I imagine they probably didn’t) then they would have been fine!

ClareDayThreeThe afternoon also saw the birth of a new HIV/AIDS awareness song courtesy of Alpha, one of our Ugandan coaches. Sung to the tune of the Jackson Five’s ABC 123 he changed the lyrics to: “ABC – do do do do – means no HIV – do do do do” – and the kids absolutely loved it.

In the morning we attempted to run the second of our two teacher training mornings which again proved a little frustrating. Having managed to persuade around 20 students to join our small band of teachers on day one we had hoped they would return on the second day.

But as our start time of 10am came round there was no sign of a single teacher or student.

Instead of sitting around waiting, we started doing some coaching sessions with a couple of the local kids who had wandered over to see what we were doing. Within 10 minutes the numbers had grown to more than 20 children varying in age from around three to 15.

By the time a handful of teachers/students arrived it was 10.45am. Rather than stop our coaching with the children we included them in our practices so the teachers/students could get a realistic experience of what it would be like to coach cricket at their schools.

MbararaAssessment1The morning ended with the teachers/students working in pairs to plan and deliver their own sessions to the local children. And despite the difficulties we had during the two mornings the pleasing thing was that the sessions were all of a good standard with the HIV/AIDS messages to the fore.

As team tutor, I would like to say a huge thank you to the team for their efforts over the last two days. Adapting to everything thrown at them their attitude has always been, “how can we make the best of the situation,” rather than worrying that things weren’t always running as smoothly as they could have.

Off the pitch, the day saw David continue to ‘improve’ the minds of the group – this time with a light latin lesson over breakfast. Becs lived up to her status as the team’s food pioneer, ordering ever-more exotic dishes without knowing what they were. Daniel revealed that as a psychology graduate he could psych-analyse us at the drop of a hat but would only be using his superpower for good rather than evil. Andrew continued to entertain (himself mainly!) as the team’s human jukebox and Clare got her groups at Boma Primary doing dance moves that could only be rivalled by Ronnie.