Friday saw CWB Botswana adopting a tried and tested model from other CWB projects and held a day long festival of cricket. In partnership with the Botswana Cricket Association and the British High Commission, over a hundred and fifty children were ferried in from all over the southern region for their first experience of cricket on grass. Early arrivals were put through warm up routines led by CWB volunteers and Local BCA coaches involving hand hockey, diamond cricket, target blowing and range hitting. Due to various transport glitches the first arrivals were well and truly warmed up under a glorious cloudless sky by the time all participants arrived.
All the students, aged between nine and thirteen were given an Introduction to the day, checking and reinforcing their knowledge of the Abstain, Be Faithful and Condomise (Protect!) message which were loudly chanted out. They were then told the importance of knowing their status, which of course you find out by testing. In sport you test yourself in competition, and the best way of doing this was through participating in a tournament! Teams were selected and allocated into two groups of four ensuring all participants would play in three qualifying matches of rapid fire cannonball before lunch. Pretty soon the whole BCA oval was alive with the sounds of balls being thwacked, runs being counted, encouragement being screamed and umpires loudly adjudicating. Check out the action on the First Festival Friday Fun Footage taken on our go-pro.
Before lunch the children were all given a talk by Mr Moeti from the Tebelopele Voluntary Counselling and Testing Centre about the importance of knowing your HIV status. Taking note of his wise words three of our CWB volunteers got themselves tested and proudly showed off their ‘passports to life’ to all our junior competitors.
Fuelled by enormous lunch time hot-dogs, the teams were soon raring to go, with semi finals and finals being keenly contested. Before the final awards ceremony all the budding cricketers were shown a quick visual demonstration of the importance of Abstaining – from hitting the ball in the air, of Being Faithful – to your catching partner and of Protection – using your bat to defend the stumps your wicket. In Testing the batsmen’s status I can report all 150 children spotted the folly of taking guard two foot outside off-stump. The ground was then hushed for the announcement of the results. For those of you without access to Cricinfo the final result was a victory for the Impala over the Lions.
After final photographs the kids dispersed and the Project Leader gathered the team together to announce they also would be tested through competition – a 20/20 match under floodlights on the very same ground. Check out how they performed on the Match Day Blog.