Published: October 20th 2010October 20th 2010
We elongate our greetings to you all (Mike G scribing)
Will ‘the rebel MC’ is the team leader of our group here in Botswana on behalf of Cricket Without Boundaries, and he would have given you an insight into life here as we continue our adventures with the first episode of our blog. We have survived everything that Africa has thrown at us so far, although sadly this does not include Adrian Shankar’s luggage, which failed to make an appearance since he boarded at Heathrow a few days back. It’s official - with no fresh clothing or toiletries available he’s starting to honk somewhat, but there’s a lotta love among the team and a few random tee-shirts and shorts have been kindly donated on a temporary basis. Ade is a fashion junkie and he struggled to accept a few of Chris B’s more elaborate designerwear, although he’s reluctantly agreed to forego his title as ‘male fashion guru’ and wear the damned things anyway.
The first full day here in Botswana was entirely predictable in so many ways! Damned hot, welcoming smiles, combi vans breaking down TWICE in a day, and the entire set of luggage containing our cricket coaching equipment
being retained by the ‘authorities’ at Gaborone for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Goooooood morning Gaborone. Despite these drawbacks, the team fronted up in the face of adversity and finally reached their destination - the town of Kanye lies over an hour south of Gaborone towards the South African border and has nothing to do with any popular US singer as far as we are aware. It was, however, the first venue for the cricket coaching and HIV/Aids awareness training that plays such a huge part of our trip, and the ‘Kidz Academy’ school were very gracious in welcoming us in their typically elaborate Botswana way with traditional dancing and incredible music, all delivered by the pupils themselves. Not content with just offering us such a reception, with the beuatiful comment “we elongate our greetings to you all”, the school insisted on feeding us a sumptuous lunch aswell, prior to our coaching the school children in the afternoon. Now, as a group we are confident in our ability to rise to the challenges that Africa has to throw at us, although coaching cricket to 200 children with four sets of plastic stumps, six bats, 40 cones, and just 40-odd tennis balls,
was a little too much; Gaborone International airport, we salute you.....thanks for keeping all our main equipment (with the CORRECT documentation in place, I might add). In the end we managed to agree with the school that in only 45 minutes (that’s all the time we had left after the amazing welcome reception and fancy local lunch), we could cope with 150 kids at a push.....and we made it.....catching drills with the meerkat and Aquarius, modified games on the desert-like school field and some bowling against the walls of the school were the order of the day with the very limited equipment available. Miss France (female fashion guru Veronique) and Mike “I’m never late for breakfast” Stratford surpassed themselves with wholehearted coaching of bowling technique to the willing participants, who also perfected the Stratford ‘grunt’ at point of delivery by the end of the instruction. Another feature of this short session was up-turned old tin cans to use as ‘batting tees’ (a tennis ball sits atop each can and is hit by a participant with their bat), in the absence of any more appropriate plastic tees that sat unused at the airport Customs area.
Chris B and Adrian featured
very heavily in the initial “tour fines committee” meetings at the Oasis Motel where we are happily accommodated this week - they struggled to make either the ‘welcome committee’ for Mike G on Sunday evening (Mike the tutor arrived on a later flight from Aus when all others had made it in earlier from the UK) or even the breakfast on the Monday morning...a certain reputation was just beginning for these two...
We are delighted to be making progress here in Botswana and finding our feet after a full day of cricket coaching, local bureaucracy and factor 30 sunscreen every 20 minutes, and although we have become weary at times, all the members of the team including the Water Goddess Veronika and newly-appointed (previously jobless) blog bitch Michael Reeves are operating with unity, compassion and good humour....despite Mike G’s finest puns. There exist a couple of rather shabby looking moggies that float around our accommodation awaiting the offer of a few scraps, and they say that cats have nine lives, don’t they? This makes them ideal for experimentation.
There are more photos below