AFTER setting off for our first school at 8.30am, we found a deserted playing field on our arrival – most definitely the calm before the storm.

A class of at least 60 kids emerged on to the field for their PE lesson and shortly afterwards pandemonium broke out as morning break began and what seemed like thousands of children flooded out.

The team had 20 minutes to entertain and educate them, splitting off into several groups doing various activities.

Tasks ranged from catching, batting, dancing and simply just belting a ball in the air for someone to catch.

Their enthusiasm was unrecognisable from anything seen back home and a proper introduction for the seven CWB debutants on the trip.

Coach education followed and instead of having three hours we only had 45 minutes, nowhere near as much time as intended but still enough to get the teachers thinking about things.

When that finished the team split in half for the two schools they were working with at midday.

After a quick introduction from the head teacher of Gulu Public School, the CWB coaches launched into their skills with a group of around 80.

Good fun was had and you could see there was some natural ability, a fact backed up by the two cricket trophies on the head teacher’s desk.

Timekeeping, panic and enthusiasm

WE are beginning to understand Uganda timekeeping – it doesn’t exist.

The youngsters are amazing. They are absolute naturals when it comes to throwing, catching and fielding.

They also have a tough competitive streak and at St. Joseph we did a bowling drill with a hard ball, and when the ball crashes into their shins there is no hint of anguish.

The team then had a group of 50 trying several skills around three stations and I used my experience by placing my station in the shade.

A couple of hours flew by with the kids having loads of fun and key messages being delivered.

ABC’s, limited menu and sports kit

THE team headed off to Arua Hill Primary School for some coach education and the teachers who had attended the previous day delivered the session brilliantly.

After a break for lunch, the team went to Muni Secondary School where we introduced our game to a group of 40 newly-arrived Sudanese girls.

Loads of ABC’s (A – abstain from sex/ unprotected sex, B – be faithful to your partner, C – use a condom) were incorporated, something it was pleasing to see the girls had a good understanding of.

Next stop for the team was the orphanage where chaos ensued. Despite the introductory visit there the day before, there seemed little or no knowledge of our arrival and our purpose for being there.

Lizzie saved the day, starting them off with some singing before some cricket broke out.

The children thoroughly en-joyed the donations we left for them, including some that the staff could play with the kids at a later time.

Festivals, sandwiches and travel

EVERYONE was on time for the 9.15am departure to Arua Hill Primary, where the day’s festival was being held.

Having dropped everyone at the ground, Uganda cricket legend Grace and project leader Grant went to collect two more schools for the morning event.

On return, the bus looked like a tin of sardines, somehow managing to cram 52 kids on it.

With the cricket finally under way featuring two groups of three teams, and the CWB team assisting teachers with umpiring and scoring, the field became a sea of colour, noise and enthusiasm. Some of the talent on show was unbelievable.

Anyafio primary and Onzivu primary were the two finalists and, after some big hitting, brilliant bowling and fantastic fielding, Anyafio ended up as deserved winners.

A presentation followed with each team receiving CWB shirts and wristbands along with some tennis balls for the school.

  • CWB has three main goals: to spread cricket through coaching children and teaching adults how to coach, to link the sport to HIV/AIDS awareness and incorporate these messages into coaching sessions, and to bring together and empower local communities through cricket.