Well wasn’t today a shock to the system for the team! Having been lulled into a false sense of security with the previous few days coaching that almost all African children in primary schools were happy, smiley children that loved the visiting mazungoo, this morning’s session came out of the blue.
They travelled to GSBC primary school and were met by 400 kids which is not a rarity in itself but they seemed to have a penchant for stealing anything that wasn’t tied down! As soon as the team set up any sessions it quickly went to pot as half the kit disappeared before their eyes. James managed to meet his nemesis in an older child with a distinctive birthmark on his face and a keen interest in trying to propel any available tennis ball at James’ head.
Collecting themselves in the bus after the session they were shell shocked as to how badly the session had gone but vowed to bounce back…….and bounce back they did…
After a quick lunch break they headed back to the same school for the secondary level kids. A better session (still crazy with about 250 kids) and some games of cross fire and non stop cricket saw a good energy level on the dusty track.
The afternoon session was in Autonome primary school and was the total mirror of this morning with the loveliest kids you are likely to meet. And would you believe it, actually some grass to play on! Team captain Rob chatted with the headmaster who was cricket mad and Chris played a game of cross fire and started to make the smallest kid on the team the captain. Team Moshan played Team Justice, with Moshan batting first but Team Justice smashed the runs off with Justice the star of the show, sending the ball miles for a little lad. Perhaps the next Sachin?! Dan and Alex invented some new catching drills that saw the kids chanting ABC while crawling across the grass like the resident gorillas.
The evening saw the team split for the first time and Chris and James headed to the university for some proper pairs cricket with the students. Chris was brought right back down to earth after his runs at the cricket ground by being clean bowled by a girl!
The remainder of the team (Alex, Lewis, Dan, Andrew and Eric) travelled to Sinapi primary school (a place with the most beautiful views)
and were expecting between 40-60 kids (well that’s what Eric told the team to prepare for). After arriving the team saw a playing area that was not much wider than a cricket wicket itself and not much longer.
This was causing the team problems planning what to do in the session and then they were gazumped by around 210 kids which left them in deep trouble however they all took a group of the kids and played a variety of catching games whilst passing on their ABC messages which made the session a great success. After the session Andrew spoke to the teachers who thanked the team for coming as well as saying that the work of CWB is brilliant and asked when they would be coming back – They also said that the work of CWB helps make the children dynamic and the teachers where then handed a tennis ball each to help carry the CWB work on.
Whilst this was going on Project Leader Rob had other duties alongside one of the teams Ambassadors Mary here’s what he had to say:
I wasn’t really sure what to expect as I rode the taxi bike down the non-too even road to Kabutare TSS to deliver the scoring course we had pencilled in for that afternoon. If I’m being honest, I didn’t expect nine teachers waiting, eager to get going. I was armed only with a PowerPoint presentation (no projector of course), a blackboard and my wits, and of course CWB Ambassador Mary, who I am indebted to completely. I have to admit if she wasn’t present I would have struggled, manfully I hope, but struggled nonetheless. Given the complexity of the information and techniques to be conveyed, as well as the fact that cricket as a whole was a relatively new concept for them, Mary’s translations were essential, not to mention her own impeccable knowledge of the game.
It is hard to assess just how much of the actual content I managed to get across – perhaps the festival on Friday will give some idea – but the real victory here is that these guys took the time out of their day to attend in the first place. I have utmost admiration for all teachers and appreciate that wherever they are in the world they will be under immense pressure. They are some of, if not the, most important members of any community as they are key in shaping the members of future communities. The effects of a teacher taking that extra step outside of their remit to encourage the growth of their charges, whether it be in academia, sport, arts or personal development, cannot be underestimated and I departed from the scoring course with the impression that I had just met nine such teachers. I have no doubt they will play an integral part going forwards as CWB and the RCA continue to spread cricket and promote vital healthcare messages around this great country.
The day ended with a game of 30 vs 30 skins vs shirts football with the locals with some serious challenges going in that would not have looked out of place at Elland Road. The goals were 2 foot wide and unsurprisingly when we left the score remained 0-0. An up and down day if ever the team had one.
What an amazing day and well done to the team for your resilience!
Rob, well said about teachers (I agree completely of course!) and how wonderful that in training the teachers you are ensuring that the benefits of your visit will endure long after you’ve boarded the plane home.