Day 14 – Expect the Unexpected

Thursday is the 9th October. Independence Day in Uganda (1962). When we arrived at nine o’clock on this our last day of coaching, the recreation ground was awash with the military – marching, saluting, practising ceremonials and all carrying weapons that we feared they might turn on us if we encroached on their patch to play cricket. Actually, on closer inspection, the rifles turned out to be mostly sticks but the large groups of school-uniformed children whom we assumed were “ours” also had sticks and started their own marching manoeuvres under the direction of soldiers. There was going to be an Independence Day parade and this was the rehearsal.

Negotiations of United Nations Observer proportions then got underway and, establishing that the military would be in possession of most of the rec. until 11.00am we were afforded a patch of ground at the periphery to get the final day festival underway. As usual you don’t get all the information: yes, that group did finish at eleven only to be replaced by another until lunch. We managed to squeeze in twelve pitches for some excellent, if a little cramped, games. In the afternoon, with the military gone we were able to stage an exciting last finals day with St Edwards just taking the honours from the Family Spirit orphanage.

And that is it.

Kit for Schools at Festval

Kit for Schools at Festval

I’m pleased to announce that the Bard has completed his Uganda Stanza and despite the fact that Paul stole my room key – innocently protesting at breakfast the next morning that he accidentally picked up this key attached to a bulkily heavy piece of wood with a large, white number “16” painted distinctively on it – I commend it to you now as I personally sign off from this blog. (Project Leader Sally will pen the final one tomorrow). I hope you have enjoyed the blog: it’s been fun.

Peter Yates.

CWB Blitz Uganda

Flying to Entebbe were a gang of eight
Arriving at midnight, they could not wait
To find a quiet spot nearby
And watch the stars in the African sky

After the wonderfully luscious drive
Into Kamuli they did arrive
Putting students through their paces
Finishing off with smiling faces

Three hundred kids all having fun
Learning to hit the ball and run
Trying to win by all their means
Fuelled at lunch with rice and beans

Onto Lugazi the bus did groan
There the seeds of cricket were sown
A whole new set of players to teach
Another town the sport did reach

A promising day brought on by dawn
Though soon the heavy clouds did form
The tropical storm poured all day
Even in Uganda, rain stops play

Soon the coaches’ limbs were aching
Muscles hurting, not quite breaking
But just before you start to scoff
At last, Masindi, a rare day off

Elephants, giraffes and hippos too
So much better than an English zoo
Buffalo, crocodile beautiful cob
Our guide had done an excellent job

Back to work but very humbling
Orphans through our arms were tumbling
Smiling faces and singing children
Made me feel a lonely pilgrim

Sadly came the time to go
Sun-tanned skin all aglow
Reflecting on what we managed to learn
Promising faithfully to return

Paul Rallings.

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