It is Tuesday, we had a pretty full day ahead of us, which for the first time will see the team being split up as we look to reach as many kids as possible.

Our first appointment is back to Nyragunga. We had a great session with them yesterday and it is fantastic to go back so soon and be able to follow up the coaching and the key HIV/AIDS messages.

We got there after 9, but in true Rwandan fashion there was a lot of waiting around as kids were prized randomly out of classes, then had to get changed and at their own pace saunter down to the “playing field” (which in reality is a reasonably large patch of pretty rough ground, with some grass, dirt tracks and of course cow pats as it is shared with local farmers).

Mike ran a very competitive warm up, although I am not sure all the teams followed the rules, but there was a lot of high 5s and cheering from everyone. Given that we had run them all through the basics of bowling, batting and catching we quickly got them playing cricket, with 4 matches all happening at the same time.

Of course this would not be a Rwandan CWB session without attracting the attention of lots of local kids. We never turn anyone away so Lee and Jack started a series of catching drills to keep them entertained, although little Didier and ‘parrot’ girl (who Chew spent most of yesterday’s session playing with) refused to leave Chew’s side.

We said a long goodbye to the kids from Nyragunga and then headed over to the Rwandan Orphans Project (ROP). We met the organisers the day before, they suggested we could come and visit, we said great and we could do some coaching too.

As we arrived we were greeted by Sean and Jennifer (who run the orphanage). At the orphanage, they look after around 120 boys as well as sponsor 10 girls to board at local high schools. Along with feeding and clothing the kids, they also run a school. As Sean explained, it was important to them that they do not simply take poor street kids and then turn out poor street adults. As we were shown you could see how they tried to equip the kids for the outside world, educating them (Jenny had created a library) to providing them with vocational skills such as work placements as mechanics.

The facilities were incredibly basic and it was clear that they have to make every penny or cent go as far as they can, even breading rabbits and goats to provide alternative food as the prices of basics such as salt, flour continue to rise. It is amazing how they can do so much with so little, truly inspiring.

After the tour, half the team (Bob, Lee, Chew, Jono, ‘Big’ Eric and Desire) headed off to Kagarama, Tim headed back into Kigali for a series of meetings. The rest of us (Jack, Mike, Don and me) stayed at the orphanage to run a coaching session for around 60 kids (age ranging from 5 to 18).

To be honest the session at the orphanage was tough, but also fantastic. The kids (and Sean) had never heard of cricket, there was also the language barrier and the fact that the kids were just so excited that they just ran around.
But we persevered and along with running three coaching stations we finished with three games of cricket and a lot of screaming, shouting and big smiles on our faces and the kids!

We finished the session just as the rain started and then jumped in the magic bus and headed over to Kagarama to join the rest of the team.

They had been there since 2 and along with the customary warm up, they ran three coaching stations focusing on bowling, fielding and batting for around 70 kids (around secondary school age). Then pressed on with cricket matches.

As we arrived they had 5 different matches running at the same time. The standard of cricket was very high, along with the level of HIV/AIDs awareness and the ABCs.

The games continued until around 4.30 when eventually we had to call it a day and let everyone go home.

It has been an amazing day and the team has coped brilliantly, especially as we split up for the first time and although we were a little stretched at times we still managed to coach over 200 kids today and get across key HIV/AIDS messages, which will hopefully make a difference.

More good news when we got back to the apartments (apart from the fact that there were cold Mutzigs in the fridge). Tim had had a productive meeting with the key official who works with the Minister of Sport, a good follow up meeting with the PSI and then finally met with two local Rwanda journalist who will hopefully join us for a return visit to the Rwandan Orphanage Project tomorrow.

Finally (before a shower and then curry), a big thank you to everyone who has left a comment. Lee reads them all out us every day and it really does make a difference so please keep them coming.

Cheers, Richard

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