Today is International Day On Sport For Development and Peace.
Many readers will remember the dreadful events of April/May 1994 when almost a million people lost their lives in the genocide in the small central African country of Rwanda.
Hurstpierpoint resident Bob Hopkins had the opportunity to visit Rwanda as part of a Cricket Without Boundaries (CWB) charity project in September 2012 and found a country and a people trying really hard to forget and build a new future.
Bob says:”I had never visited this part of Africa before and loved the experience.
“Our project visited schools and orphanages, many around the capital, Kigali, and we met the most wonderful cheerful and enthusiastic children of all ages and young adults.
“They were all keen to try cricket, a new game for most of them, and listen to the important messages we talked to them about concerning the prevention of the spread of AIDS.”
Bob and the other seven team members travelled around the country on several occasions and found a beautiful, safe and welcoming environment wherever they went.
“I even had the opportunity to go and visit the famous Mountain Gorillas of “Gorillas In The Mist” fame – spending an hour in the company of a gorilla family in their own habitat is an experience I shall always treasure,” remarked Bob.
CWB visits Rwanda twice a year to continue its work in introducing cricket and spreading the HIV/AIDS prevention message.
Bob is planning to go back later this year or early next and is looking forward to seeing how much more progress they have made in forgetting the terrible events of 20 years ago.