TSBE Researcher talks about her experience in Kenya with the charity Cricket Without Boundaries. (www.cricketwithoutboudaries.com)
Jambo! (Or hello in Swahili)
Sat looking on on a grey day in Reading is a little different for me, having only returned from Kenya on Saturday. I spent 16 days coaching 5800 children cricket whilst delivering vital HIV/AIDS awareness messages with a team of 7 other volunteers.
My time in Uganda last year was such a great experience I decided to take on the role of project leader on the Kenya trip. I took on a lot of the admin and logistics of the project – organising flights, school trips, transport and a much enjoyed trip to the Maasai Cricket Warriors ground. If you need proof of how sport can make social impact, these guys are a great example: using cricket to try to stamp out the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). http://maasaicricketwarriors.bellstrike.com/
There are too many stories to tell, to many anecdotes to laugh, smile and cry at. You can’t beat someone telling you that you have inspired them to empower youths, or that they have had their minds opened to the power of sport, or the hug you get after someone telling you they have never been allowed to join in with PE classes due to a physical disability before you got them involved in your cricket session.
And of course there’s the memory of giving an assembly to 600 primary school children about HIV and seeing a line of kids outside an HIV testing centre being tested for the first time.
The trip has been an unbelievable experience and has once again put context back into my research here at Reading. Seeing how people’s access to education and healthcare is limited by lack of electricity has given me a renewed excitement about my research here. I cannot wait to use my expertise in improving grid systems in a development context on completion of my doctoral studies.
I’ll be back in Kenya in February next year with the same charity and if you would like to join the charity then head over to www.cricketwithoutboundaries.com and apply for a project!