CWB Kenya 2016 – Jambo Mamarula!

“Jambo!” exclaimed Jon as he wheeled his trolly into Heathrow Terminal 3. Although his suitcase choice would probably be more commonly seen on a girls holiday to Tenerife (a bright pink flowery number that he now sheepishly tells everyone belongs to Khush), his greeting certainly got us in the mood for sunny Kenya. After some panicked Whatsapp messages about baggage weight allowance, the team congregated around the weighing scales for a classic “CWB reshuffle” including in excess of 350 t-shirts.  Little did Gary (Team Leader) know at this point that he had failed to pack any toiletries – might have got a little smelly on the team bus if it wasn’t for Boots!

After the flight to Nairobi and the anxious waiting for the suitcases on the other side (all present and correct) we were warmly welcomed by the driver Charles (more commonly known as Iceman to suit his chilled out character) and the legend that is Nicholas, the CWB ambassador. We took a short trip to the Blue Hut hotel not far from Nairobi airport. And to the bar…a few of us sampled the local Tusker beer whilst Tim, in keeping with his breakfast of sushi and green tea earlier in the day, sampled some Amarula in a cocktail glass. Classy dude.

Sunday morning and it was time to head on to Murang’a, north-east of Nairobi in order make base at the hotel for the next 3 days and to coach at our first school. The road trip was made all the more pleasurable by MC Gary’s excellent playlist  ranging from Toto – Africa through to Let it Be – The Beatles. Jon’s trombone like noises the night before were too much for Tim so room sharing was off the cards – a room each with a pool and hot showers – what a luxury!

The hotel was pretty lively – Khush and Hannah were on their way to the pool when a voice calls out: “You can’t walk past without stopping”. They duely went over to greet the 20 or so ladies who were having a political meeting to support the Vice President of Kenya. Out came their camera phones and many snaps were taken, leaving Hannah and Khushali feeling a bit like celebrities! A quick escape to shovel down some food and on to the bus to get to Makuyu boys secondary school. A head count and the usual cry of  “Where’s Mandy?!” preceded us leaving the hotel…she has certainly got used to Africa time!

The cricket session itself was a huge mix of adrenalin, excitement and conga lines chanting CWB ABC looking like you’ve had one too many Tuskers. We coached approximately 300 children in 2 hours and split them into catching, batting bowling and throwing stations. Nicholas and Gary were phenomenal at introducing Abstain, Be Faithful, Condoms and Testing (ABCT) to the children. It was great to hear the children telling each other to Be Faithful when they were over stepping the line of cones whilst throwing the stumps down and they really took to the idea of testing for HIV. Tim decided to sacrifice himself for the amusement of the children who were bowling (or pelting) balls at him as he ran between them. Abstaining to bend the arm went out the window.

Mandy was freed up to speak to some of the children on a personal basis – She met John who decided it may be a good idea to get himself tested for HIV again and he said he would take his friends to do the same. Along with the boys being incredibly well behaved (they would probably put some British schools to shame) and them really taking on the CWB messages, it was heart warming to see in their eyes how much it meant to them when they hit the stumps down and got a high five. We were all buzzing after our first session – to top it off Derek received a text to say his daughter had passed her driving test…Cheers all round!
To celebrate a hugely successful first day, we went out to dinner to the Blue Post Restaurant which overlooked some stunning waterfalls. Tim’s liking for Amarula showed a new level: after slight speech issues with one too many the drink is henceforth known as Mamarula.