Pitch perfect

Pitch perfect

" When my partner, Tom, and I volunteered to help RTRK, we were asked by Holly to concentrate on the sports facilities in Barut, which at the time was an uneven field.

She asked us to level, mark out, source equipment and hopefully arrange a sports day. She also asked us to try and get the girls more excited about sport as they often just sat around watching the boys play football.

We wanted to volunteer for RTRK because we’d read a lot about the charity when we were back in England and whilst we were travelling the world, we wanted to volunteer our time to a good cause. When Holly mentioned we could help out on the sports side of things (something myself and Tom are passionate about), we jumped at the chance.
Even with 20 trainees helping, it quickly became apparent that trying to level the field by hand was never going to happen, and after a few frustrating days we had to look at hiring a machine. After a few hiccups (machines not turning up and machines breaking), we eventually managed to turn the grassy field into a muddy one... but at least we were making progress!
Now things looked so different and the end goal was in sight, all the trainees were really keen to help as they could see the pitch beginning to take shape. We spent days clearing dead grass, breaking up the small pieces and raking them flat. All the trials and tribulations of the first week were long gone and we were making real progress. Plus we were getting to know the trainees better which was really important to us.
After discussions with Koech, Mercy, Moses and the trainees, it was decided that we’d attempt to incorporate three different playing surfaces; netball, volleyball and football. Playing sport is not only an excellent way to keep fit but also helps with team- building and was something that would only have a positive impact on the centre.

As the trainees had to concentrate on their lessons we managed to hire some local people to help us out. They did in two days what would probably have taken Tom and I two weeks! They really worked hard and we couldn’t have been more thankful.
We wanted to volunteer for RTRK because we’d read a lot about the charity and wanted to volunteer our time to a good cause.

Next came a few days of measuring up, drawing sketches, marking out the playing surfaces, making goals posts and buying equipment before we were ready to test out our new sports
facilities. If it wasn’t for the help of Koech and Wesley, who tirelessly helped us measure, mark out and build, we’d never have reached that day.

As mentioned previously, often the girls weren’t that keen to participate, but I knew with a bit of encouragement they’d enjoy themselves. The girls played volleyball first then wanted to play netball so I taught them for about two hours and they didn’t want to stop. Every single girl played and seemed to love it.

Tom took the boys for football training and they seemed to be having a great time. He structured it well so they warmed up properly and he coached them not to chase the ball around all the time, amongst other things – it was a truly great day.
The following day was our last at the Centre, so we’d arranged a sports day for the trainees. It really was the highlight of our three weeks in Barut. We had a volleyball tournament, football and netball matches, and competitions such as a penalty shoot-out and shoot the hoop. The trainees loved it and so did we. It really was lovely to see them as happy as they were now they had new equipment and improved playing surfaces.

I’m so pleased we succeeded in the task which had been set for us but none of it would have been possible without the hard work and efforts of the trainees, the staff at the Centre and the local community."
- Caroline Eccles

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pitch perfect