As a returning volunteer, I have found this trip hugely enjoyable and can’t believe that our project is coming towards an end already. We have just moved to our final region of Kabale, a beautiful landscape of hills and lush green vegetation, a welcome pleasure from the dust and busyness of Mbarara. Having done my first project last year, I felt much more confident this time round, running sessions and going through the HIV messages with groups at the start and end of each session. It is great to learn from other team members and use some of their comedy phrases, or little tricks to catch the children’s attention and deliver the messages in a fun way.Yesterday the team split up and covered a couple of schools first thing. I was on the catching station with Tommy and I’m sad to say that even after two projects, I am still hopeless at demonstrating as I can’t throw or catch to save my life! But that’s what’s great about these projects – there will either be a team mate to help demonstrate properly, or a simple explanation and the kids generally get the idea anyway! Halfway through our session it was break time and the usual extra 100 or so kids turned up wanting to play, so an impromptu catching circle ensued. The next session was a slightly more challenging series of games with older children who were somewhat competitive, which resulted in a ball-shaped bruise on my thigh and a few choice words muttered under my breath! But that’s kids for you, and when Jordan asked the group at the end of the session which game they liked best, it was ours! A nice school in the afternoon, set up in the hills and with the most friendly and enthusiastic children finished off the day nicely and summed up the variety, and ups and downs that a project day can entail.Today started with an absolute riot of a relay session – with children incapable of running in straight lines but having an absolute whale of a time and us coaches just standing agog at how a simple instruction and demonstration could lead to such chaos! It was a treat to behold. Some dancing on the side lines with some younger children added a different dimension to the session and resulted in a number of very cute selfies.
The next two sessions were personally very rewarding. Working with a secondary school on the bowling station, I watched a teenage girl develop from ‘throwing’ the ball to ‘bowling’ really well with a lovely straight arm: a proper bowling action. Then I had the pleasure of working with some visually impaired pupils at another school set high up in the stunning hills. It was lovely to see them help each other to pass the ball and include each other in the games, as well as seeing the smile on their face as they got to hurl the ball at each other! I closed my eyes for a moment as one child bounced the ball towards me and it was terrifying to not know where it was coming from – to play sport with a visual impairment must take a lot of guts and determination and I was in awe of their eagerness to have a go and play together.The last few days have been great and epitomise a CWB project with the shear variety of things you could be doing and the way that even if you have a tough session, there will be something else that day that picks you up and reminds you what an awesome experience it is, both for the children you’re coaching and yourself. The day was wrapped up with a team sweepstake on how many children we’ve coached so far this trip – 4272 kids so far – not bad going for someone who can’t throw or catch!