With rain on a biblical scale having washed out most of the programme on Thursday, the fear and forecast was for more of the same on Friday which would of been a disaster for the planned (sort of!) cricket festival. Thankfully though, we awoke to dryness and an early start saw us travel to Lycée bilingue Etoug Ebe school for a coaching session with the children prior to the festival, which was also to be played on the same ground and was due to start at 10:00. Now, I think it’s fair to say that this particular corespondent should be well versed by now in realising that agreed plans never run quite as smoothly as you would hope in Africa. However, when you’ve held a meeting the night before with ‘El Presidente’ and had the same details confirmed to you 3 times by ‘Deputy Presidente’, and have also written said plans down to make sure you understand, you think you’ve got it sorted. Nope: 08:00 clearly means 08:50, 60 children obviously means 120 and the festival, it was definitely decided, was to start at 11:00 and not 10:00 as discussed – oh, and of course, all based on the assumption that the children were to be granted permission on the day to play! Silly me, what was I thinking, when will I ever learn…..I love Africa.
Anyway, after the usual rushing around and bargaining with the standard fairly apathetic school principle, eventually we ended up with approximately 100 children (to start with!) and began the session. An excellent one it was too with the children throwing themselves around with typical enthusiasm and, with what has become a feature so far on the trip, some brilliant contributions from the school’s teachers who had attended our coach education. Indeed, by the end they were more or less running the drills whilst the CWB coaches assisted them. The team can rightly be very proud of this as it means that the skills we taught at the start of the week have struck a chord. This can only bode well for the continued development of cricket in Yaounde.
And so to the festival…. As already mentioned, trying to ascertain numbers and ages of children in advance, when we couldn’t get near to agreeing the correct start time, was never going to happen. However, in addition to the 120 we had already coached in the morning, we soon found that we had further teams from Wisdom & Meveck schools (both had been visited) meaning that, based on the space available to us, we could have 4 games of Kwik cricket being played simultaneously. The actual playing time lasted well over 3 hours, with each team giving a good account of themselves and every game being close, but it was Wisdom, who were a bit older and certainly meaner and tougher (A couple might of found themselves on report with certain UK umpires!) who came out on top in the end. It was a very successful festival though, with over 200 children receiving plenty of ABC messages and learning this strange ‘new’ word AWOOGA!!!!! Which was reverberating across the field as we left.