Uganda 2018 Day 4: The Conservation Cup

We were up at 06.20 and were all ready to go for breakfast at 07.00. We had all ordered breakfast the night before, so when we arrived at the Safari Hostel it was ready to be served. We were therefore able to leave Mweya promptly at 08.00.

I had been a bit worried about the weather as it had been raining at 05.30, but it had quickly stopped, and it was turning out to be a beautiful day with clear skies and none of the haze which I associate with Uganda. We stopped at both Katunguru schools and picked up a multitude of children – I think I managed to fit seven into the back of our car.

When we arrived at Kyambura, most of the teams had arrived, so we marked out the pitches while we waited for the stragglers to arrive. We had two pitches marked out for football and two for rugby. This would allow us to get through games very quickly and allow us to make up any lost time.

We started off with a reminder of the rules and the expectations for fair play and respect for opponents. The games began on all four pitches and there was a brilliant atmosphere. Ash was refereeing the home team, Kyambura, in the football and they had brought lots of support. He was really enjoying the banter with the crowd, and every time Kyambura scored a goal they went absolutely nuts. Kafuro had also brought a good number of spectators who were following their rugby team very closely. Similarly, when they scored a try there were all sorts of somersaults and pitch invasions. During this time, Stu McIntosh and his family arrived.

Ronald, the head of tourism at UWA, turned up along with Olivia, the community warden and Gideon, a community ranger. They were all very excited and impressed by the organisation and enthusiasm of the children. By the time we had completed the morning’s games, we had caught up with the time.

Before the children went to lunch, they had to practise and then perform their conservation presentations. Some schools used just one pupil such as Kafuro, but many of them had larger groups performing. The standard was very high and (thankfully) most of the presentations were in English. The conservation side of the tournament was celebrated further by the planting of a tree to commemorate the tournament. A big crowd gathered around to watch the seedling placed and watered in the centre of the school grounds.

Lunch was next. It took a long time to arrive but the children got a huge portion of rice and banana which they devoured. There was also lunch for the adults, but I was soon full up. A lot of Ugandan food is very carb heavy.

The afternoon sessions were soon underway again. Because we were now at the knockout stages, rugby and football weren’t taking place at the same time so I was able to watch a couple of games of football. One boy scored an incredible goal where he swivelled and hit a left-foot rocket past the keeper from about twenty yards. The fact that he was in bare feet made it even more impressive.

The football final was between the two Katunguru teams: Kasese and Rubirizi. However, our attention was drawn to a horrible accident which happened in the third place play off between Kyambura and Good Hope. Two Good Hope players went to tackle a Kyambura player and collided with each other resulting in one of them receiving a dislocated kneecap and a hairline fracture to his knee. Mrs Green and Bea McIntosh took him to hospital while the rest of the tournament (two matches) was cancelled. Yowasi and I ran the awards ceremony where photos were taken and prizes were awarded.
Football Champions: Katunguru Kasese
Tag Rugby Champions: Kafuro
Conservation Presentation winners: Good Hope
Good Attitude Award: Katara
Overall winners: Good Hope.

UWA had very generously given free entry to the park for the winners, so Good Hope have a fabulous trip coming their way. Although the injury left a sour taste in the mouth, it didn’t detract from what had been an otherwise excellent tournament. All of the CM Sports group did a great job and the last image I had of the tournament venue as I left was of scores of children playing happily with sports equipment that CM Sports had distributed.

I walked up to Yowasi’s house once everything had finished which took me about 50 minutes, but it was a pleasant walk and the views were spectacular. The CM Sports group were already there and had been teaching Yowasi’s children and their friends how to floss (the dance not dental hygiene). It was Yowasi’s birthday so we sang to him and he distributed a very tasty cake.

Mrs Green and Bea were still at the hospital so I waited at Yowasi’s while the others went home to Hippo House. Eventually, Bea rang to say that the boy had been discharged. Fortunately, the hospital fees were only about £10 but he would require a knee brace which would be more expensive.

Mrs Green was very tired when they arrived back so I drove the boy back to his school, where he was a boarder, and then back to Mweya. As fate would have it, we had to stop to allow some elephants to finish feeding and move on – we also saw some hippos. By the time we got back it was 11.30pm and the end of a long and eventful day.

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