Following a post training session curry and few drinks last night, getting up to take the long trek down south to Ruhango early this morning was a little on the slow side. However it appears that for the team the prospect of a coaching session appears to revive the group on the long drive down.

As we approach the playing field there are 25 teenagers aged between 15-20 playing cricket. On closer inspection of the game we note that they are playing with no actual cricket equipment. The pitch is marked out on the red dusty ground with a stick, with 3 stones making up the stumps at each end of the pitch. This, as you can imagine, has to be re-marked each time the batsman takes guard or runs are scored as the line gets rather scuffed. The bat is a flat piece of wood, about 1cm thick, cut into the shape of a cricket bat and they are bowling with a very old, red, dirty tennis ball. We can confirm that the shots we saw as we walked to the pitch would classify, as a Bumble ‘Wallop’, and this just hits home that you don’t need an ego-boosting and money draining heavy bat to give the ball a good thwack.

The teenagers playing today are from Lycee De Ikirezi, a secondary school again situated on top of yet another very massive hill. The students here were gregarious, confident and very friendly. Straight from the start, when Carl was delivering the HIV/AIDS awareness messages to the students, they were engaging with him. This continued through to the coaching that proceeded, when they practised their cricket skills, as they listened intently to the advice we offered and applied the information enthusiastically. This created a really positive environment for the CWB team to be coaching in.

Key to this promotion of positive engagement were the teachers’ of the school joining in with the coaching sessions, and playing the games alongside the students.   To be honest we didn’t actually realise that some of them were the teachers until a dance lesson exchange between CWB resident dancer Jules with three of the students; Veronique’s Ugandan dancing, Justine’s traditional Rwandan dancing and Dominic’s hip thrusting Congolese dance, revealed the latter’s identity as the school’s Geography teacher (we were also treated to a Geography lesson post-coaching – we are now very knowledgeable on tectonic plates). 

This brought home the importance of getting the coaches and teachers we are training out here to positively engage in playing cricket alongside the students, as it promotes a healthy environment to learn in not just in cricket but also in promoting the HIV/AIDs awareness. Today’s session here acted as a perfect blue-print for how all the coaches are to continue this work after we have left.