Tuesday began in the dark! Alarms went off at 6am, for a 6:30am pick up and two sessions at GBHS Bamenda starting at 7:30am!
After collecting enough breadstuffs from the bakery to feed the 5000, we set up for four games of quick cricket only to get 22 kids at 8:10am! Two games later and another 68 kids turned up for second period to be watched by a similar number who had been locked out of school for being late and who were awaiting their punishment!!! (We did ask them to play but they weren’t allowed to!)
Speeding from the school, we arrived at PSS Mankon for Coach Education in good time to set up the first three exercises on the school field for a 10am start. As is becoming rapidly predictable we failed to begin on time due to the attendees sticking rigidly to the custom of, ‘Why be on time when you can be an hour late?’ So at 11am we began and despite being swarmed by flies and ants after yesterday’s rains, we had by 3pm, 20 new CWB Coaches including our driver for the trip, Eric!
The one outstanding achievement of this team in these two weeks is the enthusiasm for cricket that we have managed to pass on to the local teachers, and the willingness of those teachers to embrace cricket, and the HIV messages explicit in our training. It’s been a major plus point, and one which the charity will look to embrace in both Yaounde and Bamenda, but particularly in Bamenda as support for the CWB Ambassador, Sunjo.
So, a successful Coach Ed, and no day on this trip, would be complete without a trip to a local orphanage to round off the day. However, on the way the heavens opened!
It is the dry season in Cameroon! Cameroon has had no rain in four months. Five Englishmen come over for two weeks and Cameroon has three rainstorms in six days!!!
So to the orphanage, 30+ smiling faces, a bag of tennis balls, some wristbands and a hour or so later we had made many new friends. We played games, we chatted. We gave piggy backs, we carried them upside down. They danced for us and we tried to dance for them, and in Thom’s case his rendition of African traditional dance did little else than reduce the children to tears….
It’s hard to believe there are only three days of coaching and the festival left. Despite the trials and tribulations of regular power cuts and the complete loss of water, sometimes simultaneously in the hotel, this week is already becoming memorable for the inventiveness, persistence and dedication of the small, but perfectly formed, team of volunteers.