Last week the Rwandan Orphans Project received a surprise visit from a group of men from the UK who represent an organization called Cricket Without Boundaries. CWB uses the game of cricket to promote education on HIV/AIDS prevention and other topics to children in developing countries. In their own words:

Cricket Without Boundaries (CWB) is a UK based charity dedicated to helping, educating and developing local communities around the World through the spread and growth of cricket. It is also about personal empowerment, both for adults and for children. The Charity uses the sport to help develop personal skills ranging from basic teamwork to self-discipline and leadership.

What was great about the visit is that they never actually intended on coming to the ROP. They were spending some time with a local school when someone told them about our Center and they decided to come pay us a visit. It shows the commitment and interest these men have for vulnerable children that they would squeeze us in their already tight schedule not only for one, but two days.

The first day they came we gave them a quick tour of the ROP Center and then all but three of them had to rush off to another school. All of us went to our playground with the three who stayed behind and soon we had divided the boys into three groups and each group went to learn a specific skill such as catching, batting and running.

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Unfortunately because they had to squeeze us into their schedule at the last minute they weren’t able to stay too long, but while they were there the children – both from ROP and other kids from around the neighborhood who came to participate – had a blast.

That evening their leader, Tim, phoned me and informed me that the next day they wanted come again, this time all of them, to spend more time with the boys. When Jean de Dieu, the supervisor at the ROP, informed the boys they were very excited and couldn’t wait for their arrival. This day they did some more drills and then were divided up into groups to play a simplified version of cricket. Even Jenny got into the act.

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At the end of the day each coach brought his players together and they would all together shout the ABCs of HIV/AIDS prevention that they had taught to the boys the day before: A is for “abstinence”, B is for “Be faithful” (to your partner) and C for “condoms”. They would shout the ABCs again and again until their coach was happy with their volume.

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Then, sadly, it was time for our new friends to depart. They graciously left behind a donation of T-shirts and other clothes as well as shoes and some cricket equipment so the boys could continue playing this new game they all fell in love with. Now each day they ask us for the bats, balls and stumps during their school breaks and after classes to they can play.

We are very grateful for Cricket Without Boundaries for finding, well making the time actually, to visit our little project and spend two days bringing a new game, lots of smiles and reinforcing HIV/AIDS education to the children of the ROP. We can’t wait to see them again next year.

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Sean Jones

Sean Jones is the coordinator at the ROP Center and has been working at with the children in Kigali since January 2010.

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