By Clare Ross

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The start of the second stage of our trip sees us near Kilembe; a beautiful valley setting, tucked amongst the foothills of the Rwenzori mountains.

However, being in this valley comes with its perils. The area was hit by a devastating flood on May 1st; 6 people lost their lives, over 50 houses destroyed and much of the infrastructure damaged. Allen Mary, the lady organising the cricket in the Kasese area, explained to me that hers was the first house to be taken by the flood waters, and 5 months on, neither it nor any of the other damaged houses have been repaired. Many people fled the area immediately after the flood and people are still slowly making their way back to the area. A normal school day at Bulembia before the flood would have seen 800 pupils, the first day back after the flood 64 children made it in, and now the count is only at about 600. Bulembia school itself still has a playground in tatters and many of it's classes being held in Unicef tents

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The damage to infrastructure is plainly obvious – our 20minute drive up to the school from the hotel sees us pass flood plains full of sediment, workman busy repairing roads and bridges and decimated houses.

Despite the challenges this area has faced in recent months, we had a torrent of teachers from surrounding schools turn up for coach education, about 40 in total! They were all lively, happy and keen to learn. Refreshing after our slow start in Mbarara. And much to our surprise and amazement, one of the teachers was called Saddam Hussein!

The morning session ran without a hitch, but rain threatened over lunch and came in for the start of afternoon play. However play continued thanks to the discovery of a very small hall (next to a very large, but locked hall) perfect for a bit of close catching.

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Rain stopped and so back outside, we completed the coaching course, satisfied to have 40 confident, qualified coaches. But that wasn’t the end of todays challenges for Luke, team tutor… Now came the small task of working out which schools would come see us when in the following days. After what felt like hours of negotiations, we seem to have a plan for the next couple of days. Exciting, but as we are quickly learning, no one is holding their breathe just yet.

We gave some of the teachers a lift back towards town. It turns out floods aren’t the only challenge this area is facing. As big copper mining region 40years ago, the government have just drawn up an agreement with the Chinese to allow them to begin mining again here. The locals seem less than convinced this is a good idea. In the convening 40 years people have moved back onto the once mined land, and so are in essence squatting on government land. If the mining starts again there is a fear a large proportion of the community, who are ‘squatting’, will be turfed off with no compensations. This, on top of fears of safety and environmental impact of mining (particularly opencast mining), mean the local are understandable tense about the future of their beautiful area.

In the face of all the challenges this area are facing, the turnout and enthusiasm today is all the more awesome, and the CWB team looks forward to a day that is currently promising 10 schools and over 300 kids…we’ll see!