A thousand+

After coaching 959 pupils yesterday could we beat that number today with a very busy and challenging schedule planned.

For the first session we attended the same school as yesterday morning. This meant we knew when break times were happening so we could quickly adapt our sessions to get everybody involved and not lose any tennis balls. The first hour session of the three at this school was hectic with significantly more pupils participating than expected and this led to a slight drop in the group’s high standards as prepared activities became overrun by enthusiastic children all wanting to participate. After a quiet pep talk from Lee the group was revitalised and immediately returned to their usual standards.

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After having a quick lunch at the Elegancia hotel we headed to school number 2 for the day. On arrival it was clear to the group that this was a well-established and fairly modern school with the pupils speaking very good English which makes the coaching much easier than when you also have to battle against a language barrier as well as large numbers. This enabled us to get across the vital health messages much more efficiently.

We started off running a variety of relay races firstly by doing the classic running round the cone, catching and throwing the ball. This was until the ambassador of Cricket Without Boundaries in Kigali, Eric threw a spanner in the works by ditching the balls and adding a shimmy shimmy shimmy to the relay. Leaving the kids and coaches in hysterics.

At the penultimate school of the day we had the second half of the school we had not coached the previous day. Upon our arrival we were made aware that we would be coaching 250 pupils in 45 minutes. Absolute madness but this did that faze us, however the head teacher said numerous times we wouldn’t be able to control that amount of pupils.

We separated this number into five groups of fifty, my group played catch within a square of small hedges using them as nets however even though the environment and facilities were not ideal we still managed to get across the vital health messages and ensured that all had a fun session as their school friends had on the previous day.

Whilst this was going on Jamie, Lee and Eric were on crowd control this was the other 250 pupils at school who had skipped their lessons just to come play catch and try to get involved again.

This again highlighted to me the passion and enthusiasm that children have over in Rwandan to play sport, brilliant. In my eyes in the short space of time we had at this school we did an excellent job of introducing and reinforcing the vital health messages. It was still absolutely ridiculous but as we have done throughout the trip we all worked hard as a team and got the job done.

Onto our final school now a Catholic all-girls school we were informed we would be coaching a select 100 who have a real keen interested in cricket (which they did have) however the rest of the school also came up to participate increasing the number of pupils to over 300. The sport facilities were located on top of a hill (which felt very similar to Mount Everest after a long day coaching in the sun) and the views looking from the top were incredible.

We then went to the lake to relax and refresh after another long but successful day, we don’t have the numbers coached from today as yet but all we know is it was more than yesterday and definitely over a thousand.