Highland Games – Kenya style


The grounds were prepared, the grass cut and cut again, hundreds of flags – and new trousers – were churned out in the pedal machine by taylor Kariuki Gitau, many tents were erected in case of rain, water was brought, food was brought, tracks were drawn out on the plain, and the disconcerted impala moved out to the sides of the field.

Sport consultants worked daily on the fields alongside the exceptional ground team.

Toby gave the sport shoes, Bianca painted the boards, and I got the t-shirts printed – blue on black, with Amani for Peace printed below the logo. Sveva came back again from UK to work with trainer Walter and Victor to build up The Pokot Youth Peace Team, every day for six weeks.

And the people came – in the thousands – from Pokot and Njemps, Turkana and Samburu, Tugen and Nandi, Kikuyu and Borana, and the Masaai cricket players for Il Polei.

This, despite a tribal fight just the day before between Samburu and Turkana at Rumuruti. Communities and tribals have recognized this Sports for Peace event as one of the really unique occasions to meet and solve issues; the athmosphere was just amazing.

There were over 1,200 entries to the athletics games and many spectators, estimated to be about 4,000. The highlight of the event was the initial amazing performance of the Pokot Youth Peace team led by Kopus – the poacher who was given a chance. I had promised him that one day he would perform in front of envoys guests and a huge crowd. As I stood to clap, emotion almost overwhelmed me.

The promise was kept.

All boys families were invited, transported, and fed by us. The next step will be to register their group and to have them perform for a fee, further afield; Nairobi as well.

Rains were kept at bay – just for the day – as it rained all around us and magic worked when a circle of sunshine just over the game fields allowed the athletes to compete until dark!