Volunteer Blog

14-7-2017, Sports Final Brings Great Excitement

There was great excitement in the village last weekend as everyone switched to sports mode. For locals of Lwengo District, (where Suubi Centre is) the finals of our Butonde Bwansi Sports Tournament is something they look forward to in June July each year. What began as a relatively small event in 2010, the tournament has now grown in to a major community event - each year it just gets bigger and better. 

Throughout June, nine preliminary football matches were played, attracting crowds from villages where participating teams were coming from. This gave Suubi staff the opportunity to pass on information about everything that is available at Suubi and also important health and educational messages. With a new team from Boda Boda Football Club entering this year, they bought with them a whole new group of supporters, from the extreme end of the district, to not only enjoy the sports but also to be exposed to the Suubi messages. Perfect - the sporting event is allowing us to reach more and more people in the wider community each year.

The culmination of the event, finals day - which was held last Sunday - is the absolute highlight for everyone though. The Aussie volunteers were thrilled to be in the village to be part of this spectacular day, which is packed with sporting action and excitement for everyone. In the lead up to Sunday, John took the opportunity to introduce some of the Suubi Secondary students to Aussie rules football. With John's connection to the Kyabram and Melbourne Football Clubs, we are hoping that a real link can be made and in the future we will see Ugandans playing Aussie rules too.

The Suubi boys watched on intently as John showed them various skills and explained more about the differences between football and soccer. 


With their athletic ability they caught on very quickly


and were soon taking species!


The boys had been quite serious in the beginning and thought Aussie rules was pretty strange, but by the end of the day they were filled with smiles when they were able to kick further than John!

Sunday morning started bright and early as the tournament organisers woke before day break to finalise everything for the day. With the Delica revving to start, the PA system being checked and the hive of activity going on at Suubi this also meant we Aussie were wide awake too. 

The first event of the day was the cycling. This saw the riders travelling approximately 60km moving through many villages in the surrounding area. People lined the roads to cheer on the riders as they passed through their village. Once again Suubi Centre was bought to the for front of peoples minds that may have otherwise missed out on attending the finals in Lubanda Village.


Everyone gathered at the Suubi junction in anticipation of the riders taking off.


With Beth having worked at Cycling Australia in the past and currently for Altus, she was thrilled to be able supply shirts for the organising committee and cycling gear for all the riders.


Suubi sports manager, Paul, (in the green shirt) was very popular with all the riders has he handed out the cycling shirts.

As we waited for the race to kick off, Elias gave the PA system a work out with his messages and Zak was pumping out the music. It felt like a party in the village and the anticipation of the action filled day ahead was palpable. Locals took advantage of having so many people on the streets by selling meat under the tree at the race line and eats and drinks at the football ground.

John enjoyed Zaks tunes so much he let some of his legendary dance moves rip - a real hit with the kids!


Loretta on the other hand was not so impressed with the meat hanging under the tree. She was happy to buy some for Madelena but wouldn't be joining her for dinner!


Although she gave it a go, Beth wasn't quite as handy with the machete as the butcher!


The tournament is a great place for friends and family to catch up with each other. Aaron, Loretta and Beth were happy to see Deo as that waited at the junction for the action to begin. He is the husband of Loretta's penfriend, Benidikita, that passed away earlier this year. Now Deo and Loretta have become brother and sister.

With the riders setting off, David took off too to follow as the support car in case anyone broke down. Joan, Steve and John jumped in with the rest of the team - 11 of them in total we were told. Steve said afterwards it was one of the most exciting things he had done in his whole life. Travelling through the remote villages (that they never would have had a chance to see if not for the tournament) and trying to keep up with the bike riders who were travelling up to 70kms and hour, up and down the bumpy hills, was a real adrenaline rush.

The jam packed Land Rover took off after the riders


and more than three hours later the winners were crossing the finishing line.


Twin brothers Waswa and Kato were happy to crossed the finish line in 1st and 2nd.

They had been trained by their father, Salongo (in red), who came in 3rd position. What a family power house!


Steve was quite a sight when he climbed from the vehicle - one side of his face completely brown from being covered in dust and the other as sparkling white. 

Once the cycling was over the action moved to the playground at Namagongo Primary School where the netball and football finals were to be held. With the Suubi Secondary School girls set to appear in the finals for the first time we practised our cheering as we waited for the girls from St Benards school to arrive. "Lets go Suubi, lets go!" Eventually when the match got underway the standard was really high, especially when you consider they were playing on a dirt court that had pot holes and slanted downhill. In the end the St Benards girls came out on top 9-6 but the Suubi girls certainly put up a good fight.


The two teams took part in a tug a war as part of the prematch entertainment.


It was very exciting for the Suubi girls to be appearing in the finals for the first time and they basked in having so much attention.


Prematch hugs and well wishes between the two teams was lovely to see.


 Suubi SS actually had most of the play and more shots on goal but unfortunately a couple of tall girls in St Benards defence line made it difficult for Suubi goalers to score. The team should be extremely proud of how they performed and with this experience under their belt they are sure to come out on top in the future.

With the netball complete all eyes turn to the football. The new team, Boda Boda FC, had made it through to the finals against Kinonni FC. Both teams came with huge numbers of supporters which saw the pitch completely surrounded four or five deep - the largest crowd we have had since staring the tournament! The match was of a great standard and really competitive. In fact it was all level at full time, which meant a penalty shoot out to decide the champions. 


Both teams lined up before the match began and were wished well by the officials and Aussie volunteers.


The huge crowd enjoyed the high standard of the match. There was lots of cheering and it was easy to see that everyone was having a great time. 


It was the hottest day we had had while in the village - Loretta tried to keep out of the sunshine but her umbrella just didn't want to co-operate.


John took advantage of having such a huge crowd to promote Aussie rules footy too. He held a competition for the longest kick during the half time break.


The kids in the crowd came closer to see what the excitement was about and of course Elias explained what was happening from his vantage point perched high on top of the Delica in the back ground.


David and Brian were thrilled with the hats they received as the winner and runner up while the other boys were happy to get a pen for their efforts.


With the match all tied up at full time there was match excitement when Kinonni FC scored the winning goal in the penalty shoot out. Shortly afterwards the crowd went crazy; people running all around the pitch and cheering for the new champions.

As usual, by the time all the presentations were done the daylight was fading. Kinonni FC took home a cow for 1st prize, Boda Boda a goat for being runners up. 

It was wonderful for the Aussie volunteers to be part of such a special day. Hopefully they will always remember their day at the Suubi sports finals and will have lots of fun telling family, friends and work colleagues about it when they get back home. A huge thanks to John, Beth, Aaron, Joan and Steve for the time they spent at Suubi. They all bought something special to the experience and we wish them all a safe journey as they set off home tomorrow. 

Also a huge thank you to the Suubi staff for yet another amazing job of organising such a fabulous event. It is always inspiring to see so many people having such a great time; not even realising they are learning at the same time. Perfect!

Loretta will now be joined by her two friends Cate and Karen who are sure to have a big adventure of their own. We'll be sure to update you on what they get up to in the next blog.

HUGs from Helen

Comments

Aubrey Dzierzanowski commented on 31-Jan-2021 11:04 PM
Very Nice JOB!

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