Why I volunteer with Cricket Without Boundaries Sara Begg - Volunteer TutOr

Hi, I'm Sara. I'm a cricket keeno: a coach and coach educator, and believer in the power of cricket to change people's lives!

I first volunteered with Cricket Without Boundaries because I was inspired by the idea of using cricket to talk about HIV/AIDS, and because I wanted to do something a bit different.

I went to northern Uganda for two weeks as project tutor, taking charge of the cricket and coach eduction - in at the deep end!

It was a life-changing two weeks.

We met some amazing people,

including the CWB legend Patrick, teacher at Otim Tom Primary ...

Patrick demonstrates the backlift

... Lillian, coiner of "munch the mango, and throw away the seed with a straight arm" ...

Lillian coaching a captivated audience

...and head girl and cricket team captain Winnie who will surely be a future leader in Uganda.

Winnie and the girls of Sacred Heart school

We did some extraordinary and fun things:

...we played baseball against "the Nile Hammers" in Arua and taught them how to play cricket...

...we crossed the Nile, saw elephants, Ugandan Kob, and some very curious baboons...

...and played goalball with caps as blindfolds...

...went to an open-air bar with an MC up a tree...

... we even saw the Ugandan version of table cricket!

But most importantly we played a lot of cricket (or cricket-like things!) with a lot of incredible adults and children.

Highlights included the after school session in a goat-filled field with over 200 children running cricket relay races. We were tired, the surface was far from ideal, but the sense of satisfaction of a job well done (and the cold Pepsi at the hotel afterwards) was hard to beat...

And then the "Testing Day" festival in Gulu with a team from street children charity Surface Uganda playing with teams of local schoolchildren, and all getting tested for HIV - particularly significant with one child testing positive and therefore able to start accessing treatment ...

Or running a batting session and having groups of boys and girls yelling "Condom Use!" in the public square in Arua as people went about their business around us!

The most enduring memory, however, was not very crickety at all.

We were invited to visit a school for visually impaired girls in Arua over the lunch break of our second day there.

We swung past one of the small multi-purpose shops that are in abundance in Uganda, and brought some party balloons and rattle toys with bells in.

As we drove to the school we figured out a way to get those bells into the balloons so they were big, bright and noisy. This is what happened next:

If I ever need a little lift, back in England, watching that clip of concentrated joy does the job.

Finally: I love that, by staying involved after the project, I continue to talk with the local coaches in Uganda, especially the CWB Ambassador Emmanuel.

I get to find out how things continue to develop in Uganda, offer help and advice where I can, and maintain a real sense of connection even when I can't be out there.

Volunteering for CWB is extraordinarily rewarding - you get to meet incredible people, visit incredible places, and do incredible things.

You get to have meaningful and potentially life saving conversations with young people about how to prevent the spread of HIV and combat stigma associated with the disease...

... and you get to run around in a field with lots of tennis balls!

And all with a team of lovely, likeminded volunteers with the same passion and drive to make a difference.

I would highly recommend volunteering with Cricket Without Boundaries to anyone who wants to make a difference! Visit the website:

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