3rd - 16th October
Our first stop over was the Lugogo stadium, home of Uganda cricket in Kampala. In order to dust off the cobwebs after an overnight flight, we coached some of the national Under 13 squad. After a quick lunch, it was a four and a half hour drive to Tororo – a town close to the Kenya border. At present, 10 primary schools and 4 secondary schools are playing some cricket. We were all impressed with the commitment and enthusiasm of the 26 teachers who turned up for three days to improve their skills by taking the lead coaching 263 school children. Unfortunately the District Education officer had not been informed that we were due to coach on the fourth morning, so it was an early departure to our second centre.
Next stop was Iganga, a forty minute drive from our base in Jinja. 14 teachers from ten different schools, the vast majority experiencing cricket coaching for the first time, turned up, (some on time)! Once again the teachers showed great enthusiasm, if not an understanding of how many children they were asked to bring on the next two days – 365 pupils turned up over the weekend with their teachers.
After a well deserved break at Murchison National Park (funded separately by the volunteers), we moved on to our final centre – Masindi where we tutored 17 teachers. This is an area where a few primary schools are playing but secondary schools will not be starting until the new year when the Uganda Cricket Association are planning to send coaches and equipment. In spite of the relatively poor facilities for cricket, (we coached on a field where the grass was nearly a foot long), we came across some outstanding talent. 135 primary school and 50 secondary school children came with their teachers for coaching. One morning, the local co-ordinator, Christopher, had arranged a tournament for six schools starting at 9am. It got under way at 10.20 with 4 schools participating! Education and mock exams take precedence.
Of course, CWB are not only there to coach cricket. We place great emphasis on linking the game to HIV / AIDS awareness. Using the ABC’s – (abstain, be faithful, condomise), as well as testing, treatment and stigma – the whole team became comfortable delivering the message to both teachers and pupils. It is very satisfying to hear ‘abstain from hitting the air’ coming from the teachers when they are coaching their schools.
We also had a chance to go to the Family Spirit Orphanage in Masindi, and no one will forget the welcome that we received when we arrived with clothes, pens, crayons, colouring books etc. Another challenge to our emotions was the visit to the poorest part of Jinja arranged through Veronique who works for a charity called Street Child Africa to meet a lady who was HIV positive and was barely able to sit the previous day.
Michael Reeves - Project Leader
Richard Davies - ECB Tutor