23rd September - 6th October
The Autumn project in Uganda was a little different from previous ones as it took place in the northern part of the country, where until a few years ago forages by The Lord's Resistance Army made it a pretty unsafe place to go. A small CWB coaching team had visited earlier in the year and done some great work laying the foundation for future CWB projects there.
So with all that in the back of our minds I guess it was not without some degree of trepidation that we headed to Gulu, Arua and Lira. However we need not have been worried, we were welcomed like old friends and made to feel very much at home and in the whole time this PL never felt unsafe!
That's not to say we were not aware of the effects of years of problems – stories of some of the atrocities, orphaned children plus a chance encounter with Lieve Milissen from the Centre for Children in Vulnerable Situations (CCVS) in Lira all made it very real. The meeting with Lieve will hopefully lead on to additional benefits for CWB in Uganda allowing us, through cricket, to help with the rehabilitation of the child soldiers they help to look after.
The coach education and coaching sessions, were as always carried out at some interesting venues – the day we turned up to be met by the army and police rehearsing for their independence celebrations on 'our' cricket ground was memorable; the army training officer was very pleasant and polite, but made it very clear there was to be no cricket coaching on that area that day! But the teachers and hundreds of children that we worked with in each centre all had a fantastic time and it was absolutely incredible to see how they each developed – whether after just a few hours for a teacher to be able to run a basic coaching session or for a 14 year old boy to be able to run in and bowl like Joel Garner (he actually looked like him as well and was not far off being as tall!).
“A huge amount of cricket knowledge, experience and HIV/AIDS awareness was passed on over the course of the 2 weeks, but the CWB team I led all learned a great deal as well and that is the beauty of these projects, being able to give something out but also being able to learn so much and benefit from the process as well – I look forward to the next time.”John Morton, Project Leader
John Morton - Project Leader
James Savory - ECB Tutor