Monday dawned bright and sunny with a hot and fabulous festival day ahead of us. It was an early start for the team, heading to Kilembe where masses of children were already waiting for us to arrive.
The festival began with some singing- ‘Mary Had a Police Case’ kicked it off… followed by a student led rendition of the Eastern Uganda Anthem and a full verse and chorus of the National Anthem. The team looked on in awe and goose bumps and tears were evident behind our smiles.
Initially teams from 10 of the schools we coached were in attendance and after a rousing introduction and warm-up we were ready to put the 4 Rapid-Fire stations into action.
As ever the children were fiercely competitive and geed up by their often more eager teachers. Two teams arrived late – accompanied by an army of supporters and festival fever broke out!!
TASO (The AIDS Support Organisation – Uganda) attended and during the festival 110 children were tested with a staggering 100% testing negative.
The festival gave the opportunity for the newly trained coaches to put our coaching methods into action. This is a perfect chance to test their skills around cricket, and of equal importance, putting the ABCT messaging into practice whilst they had the support and guidance of the team. This is our way of ensuring that the cricket and the messaging continue once we leave. They managed well and left the team feeling confident that our training would stand them in good stead.
In between games coach Richard, now famous for his rousing songs, tried a variety of new songs out with the children- my personal favourite being ‘Sweet Caroline- da da daaaa- good times never felt so goooood’ An impressive response- not dissimilar from the chorusing at the T20 Blast games back home. This was quite something.
The top 2 teams in each of the groups took part in thrilling semi finals where the children were able to put the cricket skills they had learned into action- with a big focus on team work and playing together. Followed by an epic and fiercely contested final between Masule Primary School and Buhunga Primary School with Masule PS coming out the victorious winners.
As we left Kasese behind hitting the road north, to Fort Portal, the team sat back reflected on the brilliance of the festival, the children, the crucial messaging and not forgetting the cricket skills on show!! Au revoir and thank you Kasese- you were fab!!