After a steady night of Chinese noodles and a couple of beers, we awaited the mystery machine to head off down south.

A less cramped ride followed with both Dave and Tim being relieved of some coaching. This does mean there are 3 more seats available! Their job was to go and meet some important contacts. Firstly, Tim had arranged a meeting with Population Service International (PSI) an organisation responsible for mobile testing stations throughout Africa. The aims of the meeting were to spread our message and what we aim to achieve through cricket. Feedback from the two team members was positive and much was learned from the conversations they had that can be taken forward to future trips.

The second aim of the day was to attempt to contact the minister of sport, for the second time after we had been refused a meeting on our tough morning on Monday. Little success followed, however, they are now in contact with us so leads may follow and gates may open.

Their day was followed by a relaxing round of golf where Terrace was, what could only be described as humiliated, going 7 down on a 9 hole course…the humiliation and banter will no doubt continue into the night.

The rest of the group boarded the mystery machine and took a ride south, through many of the surrounding hills. I could not paint a good enough picture of the scenery that we travelled through, other than saying the best areas of England would not come close.

Arriving at the University of Butare was where our day hit a slight roadblock, which we have come to accept in the Rwandan way of life. The university were unaware of our attendance so an hour or so passed with a few determined conversations aimed at recruiting numbers to play cricket.

Lee managed to find a few of the local cricketers, who have set up their own team outside of university which shows the growing interest within the country. The team were keen to receive some tips and engage in the games we had set up. This is where as a team we have excel as we began throwing tennis balls to anyone that looked interested as many were gathering around the surrounding area. After having 5 students, we ended up with over 30. Although this is disappointing numbers in the overall picture, we were happy to have any numbers at all.

After a personally tiring warm up, 2 stations of bowling and batting were mapped out. The more advanced were separated from the beginners which meant we could carry out some 1 to 1 coaching and really develop their understanding and techniques. All were impressed with the standard that we saw. One lad was bowling genuine “wheels” and should have had Lee caught behind, however some special person was wicketkeeping…you will no doubt see who on the video!

Some very interesting conversations were had around the HIV/AIDS subject with some definite learning points. Bob deserves a special mention as his introduction was more than difficult as he spoke to students who were less aware of the ABC message. Information was then gathered which suggested they were more than aware of the HIV/AIDS message, however, they were being delivered more education on testing, rather than learning the ABC. This may be a note for future as we could possibly deliver the testing message more to older students.

Overall, we felt this was a tough day well negotiated and a very interesting ride home followed. Top 5’s were very much on the agenda with Shawshank Redemption coming very high in the film tables, and Dolly Parton also getting a mention in another!

Showered, changed, a heading for a Pizza.
Keep following the blogs and leaving your messages, they are all appreciated – Jack Oldham

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