So here I am sat in a restaurant in the heart of Lira, Northern Uganda waiting for my dinner (so I have plenty of time to reflect) with my son and a group of people I only met 7 days ago but I already consider my friends. I am a little red due to sun cream application failure and aching a bit. I may be tired but I have the feeling of satisfaction knowing it’s been a good day :). So let me tell you about it…..
Today I went with Manni and Rita our 2 Ugandan ambassadors and Sarah to do coach education whilst the rest of the team continued the good work of coaching and HIV prevention messaging in local schools.
Coach Education is a vital part of the work done by CWB as these are the Ladies and Gentlemen we need to continue the work started by the team and promote cricket and positive health messages in their schools and through out the region. It was therefore fantastic to see 17 keen enthusiastic individuals turn up for training. Although I have plenty of coaching experience I have little experience of coaching coaches so it was nice to watch Manni in action and get a reminder of the methods used for coaching and then get stuck in myself leading a session on catching.
However there is no rest for the ‘wicked’ after Coach Education finished around 3 it was off to Lira P7 Primary School where the 4 of us were met by 120 excited children all ready to play cricket. This was my favourite school of the trip so far. The children were respectful and well behaved and yet enthusiastic about playing cricket and confident enough to share their HIV knowledge with us.
Normally the end of school bell means chaos and disruption for us, but with just a few words from the teachers we instead had a massive audience for the wrap up. It was fabulous to hear so many young voices reading the AVERT cards used by Sarah and answering the questions they provide.
Finally the team were joined by Mark and headed out to Comboni College Lira. I am just over 6ft tall and I found myself looking up to talk to a large number of the pupils. You feel the HIV messaging for the primary schools is preparing for the future (although there are kids up to 14 years old there) but going to this school our messaging was very much for the here and now.
Unfortunately a lot of the boys were ‘too cool’ for cricket but at least stayed to support’ the youths who were willing to join in our 2 rapid fire matches. Unfortunately for me whilst running backwards to catch a ball I tripped over a large boulder in the outfield and went A over T and I found myself lying flat on my back gazing up into a perfect beautiful blue Ugandan sky with noise of around 200 boys laughing their heads off at me. I was confident my team would be rushing over to aid me but when I looked up they seemed to have been overcome with some ailment that involved wrapping your arms around your belly whilst shaking vigorously and wiping the odd tear from an eye. The only thing to do was to jump up bow to the crowd and carry on with the game. Fair play by the time I had put the ball on the cone and returned to my position the offending boulder had been removed!! So all in all not a bad day 🙂
Written by: Rob Munson (returning CWB volunteer)