Day 3: Catches and Cows

Day 3: Catches and Cows.

Today was hot. Very hot.

An early start saw us on the road up country to Kamuli Township School, about a 75 minute drive. There are what seem to be major motor-cyclist conventions on every street corner but it is just that this is a preferred mode of transport. Pillion passengers often ride side-saddle, it is not unusual to see three and even four people on a motorbike and they also transport anything from massive banana crops to items of furniture. The omnipresent ditches that line the road for drainage are a constant hazard for the apparently fearless bike-riders.

Although, if empty, the school buildings might have appeared derelict, the rooms were bursting with pink-clad (either dress or T-shirt) enthusiastic, well-behaved, eager-to-learn Primary pupils. Over two thousand of them.

The playing field – half dust and half rough grass – was big. Steve our Tutor, ably assisted by Paul, introduced us to our group for the day – 23 teachers whom we were teaching how to coach cricket so that they will be able, in turn, to teach their pupils. We were grateful to Bafumba Hadijan (Haddy), who is the District Schools’ Co-ordinator, for her liaison work in setting up the day and she joined in as a student on the coaching sessions.

Our Ugandan coaches, Baker, Ronald and Emmanuel came into their own today demonstrating various skills and generally giving great input into the coaching sessions. Great enthusiasm from the teachers ensured that lots of productive work was done – despite the heat: frequent hydrating was required.

Our leader, Sally, thought the day went well and that her team is gelling nicely with the ABC message fitting fairly seamlessly into the cricket instruction.

Steve Wells, who admits to the nick-name Gwandad, found himself literally holding the baby as he took care of nine-month old Esther for one of the Teachers. At School lunchtime other Steve was drowned out in mid-explanation as a pink mist of shrill voices descended on the field to watch. I engaged a couple of the children in a game of catch and in ten seconds it became twenty and in 30 seconds it became 200… The resultant melee was more akin to a rugby scrum than a cricket game but I did mange to get some order by getting a reasonable approximation of a line going. Everyone wanted a catch! Strangely it was always the smallest who managed to push themselves to the front.

In the fielding-positions game we were all taken aback to find that deep square leg was occupied by two Longhorn bulls. They were fairly docile and mooched about the pitch taking up various positions without actually doing any fielding. At the end of the day they wandered past our bus parked on the outfield and the black one lurched slightly to a halt. A long rope was attached to his leg, obviously not secured to anything, so someone had stepped on it. I turned to see that Steve, our Tutor who had expertly run the day, was at the end of his tether.

An exciting, if hot, day in which a great deal was accomplished. Tomorrow the children will take centre stage. And there will be more than 23 of them.

Peter Yates

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