Uganda South: Celebrating 55 years of Uganda

Whereas Sunday is considered a day of rest, on a CWB project, it gives us a chance to go to boarding schools and get more children seeing the benefit of team sports and becoming more aware of HIV and how to stay healthy. The sun was already high in the sky as we set off to the cow field for our first group. It was a return visit for Boma primary school who were well drilled in the Abstain, Be faithful, use Condoms message and were also able to answer the supplementary questions we drop in there to check understanding over repetition.I stepped up to deliver the introduction and then happily sent the children to get started in a game of hand hockey, ably being managed by Jhon, Jordan and Jo. After a quick tactics break, the teams were also charged with coming up with their own targets – for themselves and for their community – and gave some pretty mindblowing answers. These were then integrated into the game, so that the children could aim at and hit their “targets”. Crossfire and Rapid fire followed and we made sure that this questioning for monitoring and evaluation was included. A particular highlight was when we asked one group to feedback to their opposition on what they had written. Miraculously it turned into a Q&A session with both teams getting involved in suggestions on “why we do sport”.The second morning session was a visit back to St Helen’s and St Aloyssius. After sending the early arrivers off for a lap of the field with Jhon, I introduced ourselves and why we were there before sending on to the batting, bowling and catching stations with Tom, Jo, Jordan and Will. As it was a day for trying new things, Jordy introduced non-stop cricket with some success but noted when pitches/skill levels may be better suited to it.Meanwhile Jhon, Manny and I had the job of looking after what felt like 700 children in two games of rapid fire. Notwithstanding the dubious counting of the teams, there was a very happy dance when one team declared themselves victorious. This was only topped by the winning team of a rule-bending game of crossfire. Why would you stand behind the cones when you can rush into the firing line to collect the ball? Nevertheless, the children had fun and were confident on the HIV messages, knowing what to do to protect themselves from HIV.The afternoon was a sobering visit to the Divine Mercy orphanage. The children were too small for cricket, but not too small for giggles and laughs with balloons, bubbles and lollipops.

On 9th October 1962, Uganda became an independent country and this is celebrated each year with a National Holiday. This meant that Team Uganda South got a well-deserved rest day as school children also got a day off.  Even terrific team leader Lee took a back seat handing the leadership baton over to Jo and Tanya for the day. Unfortunately for the rest of the team, this meant a very early start, but breakfast had been ordered and it arrived pretty much on time by African standards. The team headed off towards Lake Mburo leaving Manny behind for some final preparations for the festival the next day with Lee to supervise and no doubt offer some candid advice.We had no fears that Joseph our amazing driver wouldn’t get us there, even when we noticed him asking pedestrians every 5 minutes or so, whether we were on the right road and whether the bus could pass along safely. His fears were not unwarranted but despite the potholes and deep crevices we made it to the national park.Accompanied by a guide with the requisite rifle we travelled through the park to the lakeside for our boat safari. This was not, as Jhon had hoped it would be a chance to admire and view many different boats. Once aboard we were rewarded with too many hippos to count, the brightest coloured birds you’ll ever see and a 5m crocodile, a little too close for comfort.On the way back, we popped into the Igongo Cultural Centre for a guided tour around the immaculately labelled artefacts and the Swiss sponsored exhibition outlining the similarities between the milk industries of Switzerland and Uganda.

Once the rain had cleared, the car park cricket pitch was set up for an afternoon’s innings of one-hand-one-bounce with the players expanding to include at least one of the bar staff from the hotel.

Tanya Boardman

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