Uganda – it grabs your heart and wraps its vast welcoming hands around it, it rewires your brain like nothing I have experienced before. We are home now and no doubt have had a shower. However, we can wash the red earth from our skin & clothes but we will never be able to or indeed want to, erase the personal memories away; they are for keeps.
Although these last two weeks have passed by in a flash, the team feels that it was in Uganda for so much longer having immediately embraced all that the wonderland had to offer.
I would like to thank my team (including our Ugandan pals Waka, Emmanuel & Joseph) from the bottom of my heart for their energy, friendship, mental toughness, support and integrity. I won’t individually thank them here as that was done at our trip’s awards night on Monday; you know who you are and what you have achieved so I give you the biggest high five to you possible. Bravo to you all my friends 🙂
I would also like to thank the Uganda Cricket Association for its forward planning and organisation and especially to Grace, Waka, Emmanuel and Alpha who put so much of their heart and soul into the project.
How can we measure our legacy? We know that we have truly extended the CWB family to include new contacts from The Aids Support Organisation (TASO), District Schools Co-ordinators, the media, almost 1,000 children & 60 teachers, the Metha Group medics, FASBEC (drama group), hotel & restaurant staff and even the Ugandan army to name but a few. We also strengthened our relations with the Family Spirit Child Care Centre. But so what?
What is clear is that we have delivered 3 very different projects each with their own challenges and triumphs but with a common denominator of cricket development and HIV awareness at their heart. By training teachers, teaching children mostly who did not know about the wonderful sport of cricket using the powerful tool of embedding HIV awareness messages in its delivery and by leaving behind vital cricket equipment we have brought home the CWB bacon. We hope that long after we have gone there will be children on a ground in the middle of nowhere but certainly somewhere that pull off a perfect front foot drive or catch a ball without hurting their fingers & they will remember the linked HIV awareness phrases that prompt them to respect themselves and their team mates and cheer each other on with such team spirit and sportsmanship that they will be protected and live long and happy lives; oh how we wish them to be safe.
We are so thrilled that we have had TASO HIV testing pitch side at two or our three bases; in real terms that’s at least 150 lives that have been tested and protected; a great anecdote.
Thank you to all our families and friends for following our daily blog, it meant so much to all of us and we hope that it has inspired you to sign up for a CWB project or perhaps just to take stock once in a while and not sweat about the small stuff.
Lastly, webale Uganda for your big sky, extraordinary scenery, infectious smile and warm heart; party hard tomorrow on your Independence Day.
8th October 2014