After a night off from blogging our daily activities and worsening internet connections, there’s a couple of days’ worth of action to catch up on.  We’re now in Busia, well actually a town called Bumala which is in the Busia region of Kenya, close to the Ugandan border. Defying the convention of following chronological order, we’ll start with our trip to a project for orphans yesterday afternoon. 

Following a quick turnaround at our new hotel, we set of on the 30min drive to the project.  The scenery in this part of the world is simply stunning, with the arid, dusty landscapes of Kisumu having been replaced with lush foliage and deep red soil set against a back drop of rolling hills.  The project was located two miles down a dirt track in an amazing setting away from any major roads or habitation and consisted of a simple mud hut and an outdoor grass area for activities.  The volunteers at the project provide a day care facility for children that have lost their parents to AIDS and now mostly live with grandparents who are unable to provide them with full time care.  We set up a couple of basic Kwik-Cricket games and got the children, who were initially very timid, hitting tennis balls and taking catches in the baking afternoon sun (not only has the scenery stepped up a notch in Busia, so has the temperature!).  At the end of the session we handed out some CWB Kenya wristbands, assorted sweets and multi-coloured hairbands for the girls.  We also left the project with a cricket bat and tennis ball so that they could continue to play cricket with the kids after we departed.  There was a noticeable difference with this orphanage compared to the others that we had visited in Kisumu, with the facilities much more basic and an uneasy sense that the children themselves, despite their young ages, knew that they had very little and lived extremely hard lives.  Busia is one of the poorest regions in Kenya, with particularly high rates of HIV/AIDS, and I suspect that our visit here may set the tone for our time in the region.



(Give me an A! Callum teaching the kids their ABCs)

This visit proved to be a really good start to our time in Busia, which is encouraging following the drawing to a close of an excellent five days in Kisumu.  Thursday morning saw our coaching efforts culminating in a cricket festival held at Derick’s school.  As is customary for CWB sessions, we ended up with about twice the number of teams that we were expecting and some of these contained enough players to form two teams.  Nevertheless, we resorted to what I think was actually our original plan formulated some days previously and set up four games of Kwik-Cricket and another game of pairs cricket for the two of the more advanced teams.  It was encouraging to see pupils from each of the schools we had taught earlier in the week participating and a number of the coaches that had attended our coach education sessions actively taking on roles in running the games.  The kids also all seemed to remember the ABC messages that we had delivered at their schools, another positive sign that our work is having an impact.


(Up and coming fast bowler in the pairs cricket, spotted by Nicholas)

After a final Kisumu lunch under our favourite tree, we headed to another school in the afternoon, which was not on our original schedule but all of team were happy enough to it take on.  On the way we stopped at Derick’s house, to which he’d generously invited us.  Carl presented Derick with a mini bat that all of the team had signed and a CWB coaching shirt as a token of our appreciation for all of his hard work during our time in Kisumu.Derick has been instrumental in ensuring that we have maximised our time, not only arranging the details for all of the scheduled school visits but also organising a couple of additional school visits and two unplanned orphanage trips.  The whole team would again like to say a big thanks to Derick for all of his hard work this week and wish him luck in his bid to reach the commonwealth games in Glasgow in 2014 a one of Kenya’s representatives in the table tennis.  He certainly showed Carl a thing or two on the table.  


(Carl presenting Derick wth some gifts at his house)

At the school in the afternoon we got double the number of kids we were expecting, although you’d have thought by now that we’d just learn to expect double the number that we’re told to expect, so to speak.  Anyway, we ran s few skills sessions and got some ABC messages across.  Once again, it was encouraging to hear that the teacher, who attended our coach ed session, was planning to start a cricket team at the school.


(Carl and Derick doing a demo to reinforce the ABC messages at the end of the session)

We spent the evening on the banks of Lake Victoria reflecting on our time in Kisumu over a few Tuskers and organising a sweepstake as to how long our journey to Busia would be.  As it turned out, the road to Busia is actually a well paved and we completed the journey in a little over two hours, leaving Nicholas as the winner of the money.  One suspects that local knowledge might have played a part here.  On the way, we also stopped briefly to play a quick game of cricket over the equator with the batsmen standing in the northern hemisphere and the bowler in the southern.  However, the change of hemisphere plays chaos with the way the ball spins. 


(the Phantom Blogger finally makes the blog photos playing cricket over the equator)


(Big Dave also makes the blog photos with a textbook drive back into the southern hemisphere)