It’s Tuesday and the Uganda team has left the building. So to sum up thought we would do a quick round up of what the team have been up to – so in no particular order.

Big D – Darren Bicknell – Bit of a roller coaster in truth – started like train looking to eat his way through Uganda. A dodgy prawn stopped him in his tracks but it wasn’t long before he was back in the saddle and regaling us with tales from the dressing room. His moment of glory came in the shape of Moses’ Yamaha and a near miss with a tree which is now a permanent fixture in the annals of CWB history. Add in his guest spots on local radio in Masaka and Fort Portal Darren is now looking to add Premier League pundit to his list of jobs, while glorying in the fact that his 29 First Class wickets have afforded him legend status on Radio Budda.

Claire – Our Mum – Quickly became a hero in all eyes as she discovered the local fire water – Waraji – but the in joke of the trip became the distinct lack of Tonic to go with it. Claire’s food hell – Pineapple – is a staple here and however it was dressed up it wasn’t going to persuade her. Claire’s infective smile was always at the ready or a dance move or two to amuse eager kids as we waited for play to start once the cows had moved. Oh and by he way her assertion that – “I am only a mum” has an addition – a mum who can coach – so watch out Belvoir!!

Martin – The quiet man of the trip who openly admitted that he was out of his comfort zone. A positive place to be though and as the tour progressed his comfort zone grew with him as did his coaching portfolio. Always ready to support Martin observed and learnt with us all. Martin quickly gained legend status among the locals – as our token “Gooner” he was always the subject of searching questions from eager fellow supporters who either followed the North Londoners or their fellow southerners – Man Utd!!!!!! Whether he was mistaken for Arsene or not was just a rumour……..

Ken – Everybodys Dad – or Grandad in Josephs case!!! Ken’s opening Salvo was that “it did not get any better than this” on the first day but successive days proved otherwise as a continuum of new and exciting experiences opened Ken’s eyes further. His head shaking revealed that his expectations were exceeded daily. A bout of what Darren had laid him low for a day but only after he was ordered to bed. But his Fitness test on day 2 at Kasese proved it was only a blip and he was back on guard. A drag up a hill from the Kazinga Channel boat ride tested his metal again but he passed with flying colours. A succession of bar men, receptionists were left speechless as Ken TOLD them what we were paying and why when bills arrived…………….

Phil – Like every good journalist (they drink a lot – Quote Phil!) but like other good hacks Phil hunted down the story wherever it was. That meant up hills (600 feet above the pitch we were on ) to be shown where Baluku Bright, his sisters and pig lived or whether it was sitting on top of Joseph’s bus to get a better view or placing himself judiciously in the midst of a screaming group of girls (eager to get at Yusuf) to experience the joy of a win – Phil was there. He was also in the bar a lot – and the Uganda wine lake has shrunk. Video evidence proves Phil can hold a ccicket bat although Darren is reluctant to include him in future Duchess of Rutland XI vs MCC games… unless the price is right.

Neil – Very much our all rounder. His Basketball skills were much in demand as various schools begged his support. He finally gave in at Nyakasura as he oversaw a session on what can only be described as anything but a Basketball court, save the two posts at either end. Neil (by his own admission folically challenged) spent many hours protecting his crown from the daily sun while trying to maintain his tanning. Neil’s trip was marred by an unfortunate accident that befell his rucksack including phone and camera – a victim a Joesph’s over zealous driving but it was still Phil’s fault!!!!! A “quiet” night in Mweya meant that the game drive came as a shock to the body…….or so Darren kept reminding him.

Richard – A veteran of many Uganda campaigns both with CWB and with previous trips, his understanding and knowledge of the Ugandan psyche was a valuable help to all. Whether it was advising on the best local tipple, watering hole, dish not to eat or just with a wise word on some of the less obvious traditions in this part of the world. It meant the trip was a smooth one and from a cricketing perspective meant that all – teachers, kids and intrepid volunteers had the best experience they could not withstanding all the vagueries Uganda can throw at us.

Yusuf – A wily young Ugandan coach who through his quiet assuredness was always a hit with the locals. His understanding of the Ugandan way of life often stopped us in our tracks. His ability to deal with the British banter that followed him usually when there was a female that we all felt he should take home to his mum – will stand him in good stead!!!! His love of Goat at every meal was legend and his late night chats with ???????? will remain a mystery. His “pulling shirt” – a West Brom strip (yes there were two of us Baggies on the trip) made regular appearances.

Joseph – a smiling, laughing constant on our day – he gets buses where they should never go. Always a willing support about with a respect that is clear among Ugandans. Always trying to save us money – could not fathom why we would pay for anything over 3000 shillings (approx. 80p) made sure our Bananas were supplied on cue.

Paul – Richard here. Paul, our project leader. The reason we all had a great time is due mainly to the behind the scenes work of Paul both before and during the project. Continually checking and re-checking arrangements with local organisers, only to change again minutes before the start. Sorting all the hotel bills with many trips to the local bank to get the cash out, some successful, some not. always checking on the health of the group, checking daily want went well or what we could do better. Then on top of all that I work him hard on the field all day usually giving him the larger of the groups, stretching his comfort zone way beyond expectations. His experience in Rwanda meant nothing on the field was a surprise and kept up his enthusiasm through the long, hot days. A big thank you from all the volunteers for making this trip run effortlessly.

………And not to forget our two part timers – Simon and Jo. Ugandan Country Manager Simon and soon to be the same for Cameroon, Jo, both had a whistle stop tour of CWB in Uganda before heading home. Both however deserve our respect for braving the bus services from Masaka to Entebbe via Kampala and survived to tell the tale.

In summing up – have we made a difference? Who knows – but all we can say is that for the time we had a great number of Ugandans had a smile on their face.

Good job team and thanks.