Day one “on the job” today, in Fort Portal. What a spectacular setting, with the lush green Ugandan countryside set against the backdrop of the Rwenzori Mountains. The chances of finding an astro cricket pitch in the middle of the school field? Higher than you would think! The day had quite a gentle start, as the teachers due for coach training were slow to arrive, but it gave the team, especially the first timers, a chance to break themselves in by playing with a few local children who turned up to see what was going on.
Once the teachers began to arrive, it was straight on to the astro for some pairs cricket, with Sara leading the programme. Ed and Bert were doing sterling work with their expanding group of kids, and all was going smoothly……….then the bell rang for break time in the primary school and 200+ youngsters charged in our direction, eager to use up some energy. All hands to the pumps, and the newly trained teachers found themselves having some unexpected practice, as the field became covered with groups learning catching skills.
Back to lessons for the kids, a quick snack for the group, and the teachers had the chance to run some sessions themselves. Their cricket knowledge and skills were generally good, so our focus was on encouraging them to use as many ways as possible to introduce the HIV prevention messages into their sessions, and link those with cricket skills. On the other side of the field the rest of the team were working with the primary school children, then it was the turn of a group from the secondary school next door, all competent cricketers.
One of the teachers had invited us to his boarding school for an after school class, so it was into the bus and across town for our last session of the day, with about 60 teenage girls, ending with a very competitive game and a lot of smiling faces.
Certainly in at the deep end for us newbies, but we managed to cope with it all, and went back to our home for the week hot and tired, but nothing a couple of cold beers and a good dinner couldn’t fix. We’ve all already found some CWB special moments, and can’t wait to see what challenges tomorrow brings.