CWB first met Winifred in 2016. We remember her infectious smile. We remember her enthusiasm for cricket. We remember how quickly she picked up the coaching drills. We remember how well and how imaginatively she deliver the HIV awareness messages. But mainly we remember how she and her primary school pupils walked for five miles to take part in our cricket tournament. As beginners they didn’t win, but they walked the five miles back with our hearts firmly in their pockets. So it was great thrill to be able to visit Kicwamba school. The main team were left coaching on the Nyakasura Oval, where 250 children from Kazingo, Nyakasura Junior and Senior, and Cannon Apollo Schools (all within walking distance, but as Winifred showed, that’s a flexible term) were put through their batting, bowling and fielding skills, whilst three of us drove to one of the most picturesque settings I have even seen for cricket. Green mountains towering over the freshly mown playing field, the boundary marked by banana plants and palm trees. Good choice Winifred!
We were warmly greeted by the head teacher who told us how much her pupils loved the game of cricket which had been introduced a year ago single handedly by a new teacher. Had we met Winifred? Well we couldn’t miss her as she ran toward us, smiling broadly and proudly wearing her CWB coaches tee shirt. She delighted in telling us she had forty of her keenest cricketers waiting to take part in games and drills. We first noticed that Winfred’s maths wasn’t perfect as we walked to the ground, singing and chanting as we went along. Forty children don’t make that much noise! No problem. We had an absolutely enchanting morning coaching over 150 children. Well, when I say coaching, I mean re-inforcing the cricket skills and the HIV knowledge they quickly demonstrated, explaining ‘Miss Winfred’ had shown them. When I say coaching I mean setting up some stations of equipment, arranging the children and letting Winifred go. The morning rounded off with a few presentations, recognising the place of Kicwamba school in CWB’s heart. So if you’re ever driving on the Fort Portal to Kicwamba Road and see some Tofts Cricket Club shirts marching by it might just be be Winifred’s cricket team walking to participate. And if you count eleven, it might just show that Winifred is now perfect after all.
Refreshed by a quick(ish) pizza at the Gardens, we again divided in two, one group returning to put a new group of 267 children from 4 new schools through their paces – or should that be 267 children put the CWB team through their paces. Either way a great time was had by all, even if the coach had to “Begg” for applause for her technique when demonstrating how you abstain from hitting the ball in the air with an immaculate forward defensive. The traveling team however, had fears of never seeing this shot again, as the road to Kaboyo school got narrower and narrower as it meandered up into the hills through dense groves of banana plants. Our driver Suraj (who balks at no challenge) even gulped at one extra deep muddy rut. The road however, proved a minor problem compared to the torrential rain which followed the laying out of the cones for a traditional CWB ABC relay warm up. No problem. Invited or not, the forty children waiting to be coached invaded a classroom, where Team Abstain narrowly beat Team Be Faithful at a game of ‘Under and Over.’ However rain did not stop play for long, and soon enough catches were being caught, balls batted away and HIV myths knocked over by fast and accurate throws, all against the backdrop of deep green valleys and mist shrouded hills. And out of that most we found that 167 had in fact joined in and sat and watched a live action demonstration of the perils of failing to abstain, to be faithful to your batting partner or protecting your wicket.