On Friday 17th October the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and The Waves Charitable Trust organised the inaugural Tsavo Sports Day, as part of both organisation’s commitment to enhancing the lives of less privileged school children.
Hosted at Kalambe Primary School in Voi, it was an early start for the DSWT’s Community Officer, Mlati Ochieng. Children competing in football and netball tournaments were collected by bus from neighbouring schools, along with teachers, parents and pupils who had been preparing poems and traditional African dances for the day.
By 10.30am children from Sowa Primary, Gideon Mosi Primary and Gimba Primary had joined their peers from Kalambe Primary to begin the games. After handing out the special football and netball kits the 28 girls and 52 boys from remote bush schools looked like professional players against a backdrop of rolling hills.
Teachers acting as match officials had their final briefing, before Mlati Ochieng and the DSWT’s UK Director Rob Brandford addressed the pupils, explaining the purpose of the day. Funded by The Waves Charitable Trust, the children competed for the Netball and Football Tsavo Kerrigan Cups, in celebration of Kerrigan Savage, a young man who died aged just 26 years old, but not before he had recognised the need of less privileged children and started to give back to those less fortunate than himself. Focusing on teamwork and how much we can achieve when acting together and for each other, as well as the main Cups, there were also Netball and Football fair player awards.
The tournaments began simultaneously and there was a healthy rivalry between the schools, each keen to win their rounds, all the while there was a wonderful spirit of togetherness. Exemplified by the wild cheers of support by children from competing schools when watching two of the other schools playing one of their matches.
By lunchtime the netball final was underway, with Gideon Mosi coming out on top. With that, all of the participating children were provided with an appetising lunch, this in itself a special treat, for the children regularly come with little to eat for their lunch and the schools cannot afford to provide any meals.
With lunch consumed, the final of the boy’s football competition was underway and in a hard fought match between Gideon Mosi and Sowa Primary, Gideon Mosi came out the victors by two goals to one.
With the day drawing to a close, it was time for the non-participating children to have their fun and be part of the day. Parents, teachers, representatives from the DSWT and all the children from the sports competition gathered around to be treated to a fantastic series of poems, drama and dancing. Having been rehearsing for weeks, the performances were of an impressive standard and the performers received well-deserved cheers.
Thoroughly entertained, it was time to award the winning teams with their Cups and the pupils of Gideon Mosi had impressed on the day, winning both the football and netball competitions. The Kerrigan Cups were awarded by Mlati Ochieng and the delight of the winners was no less than that of the Germany team winning the 2014 Fifa World Cup. With pupils and coaches raising their trophy on high and kissing it! Players from the winning teams each received a commemorative T-shirt to remember the day, and all pupils taking part were given a DSWT branded book bag, courtesy of our friends at Peach Branding.
The final awards were for the fairest players, with Donald Kimbio chosen from the football teams and Beatrice Mwakoi from the netball. With broad smiles as they stood in front of their peers to receive their awards, each was presented with a shield trophy, to be engraved with their name, a cap and a signed football or netball book.
The day was an undoubted success, the children were thrilled to have had the chance to be a part of the tournament and to all come together in this unique event, as interaction between schools in the region is usually rare. Without access to vehicles, it simply isn’t possible for schools to engage more with each other or to host sporting events. The Tsavo Sports Tournament achieved so much in bringing these schools together and enabling children to interact with one another and all involved are excited by the prospect of competing next year and for many, trying to win the Cups for their schools.
Find out more about our Community Outreach programmes here