It’s Week 6 and the first week coaching with Rachel the latest SKRUM Gap Year Volunteer. Everything had been planned already this week so as soon as Tuesday came (schools were closed for Easter on Monday) we were off doing something all day every day. Tuesday we were re-introducing ourselves to old schools that were playing rugby, but due to teacher coaches leaving were no longer. So funny how every school was so excited to see us with the kids shouting “rugby’s back” and after all the coaching sessions the teachers were so grateful that we had come back to help out. We also went to a few new schools this week. At each new school we asked them to fill out a form so that we could contact them in the near future and organise coaching sessions. Every head teacher asked why we hadn’t painted a ‘Sipho’ at their school yet! Amazing that something so simple had become so cool to have on a wall at your school, also demonstrating just how much schools want the SKRUM programme.
This week we also visited the only school since being here who has rejected the SKRUM programme. The head teacher said they already did too many different sports so couldn’t commit to playing rugby as well. However, Rachel and I decided to ask the kids on the way out what they thought. Once they heard the word rugby all these little kids started chanting “WE WANT RUGBY, WE WANT RUGBY!” as they stormed through the school. So funny!
All the other coaching sessions went great this week just the usual passing and running drills. Now that I understand some more SiSwat, I joined in a bit with the singing and dancing. All the kids were laughing at me but I didn’t care, we were all having too much fun!
To end the week, Michael had asked me to referee the Inyeti 7’s Rugby Tournament held at the Mavuso Sports Stadium in Manzini. The best four Rugby Clubs in Swaziland were going to play including the defending champions the Vondos, the Titans, the Hippo’s and the Scotian Kings. A fantastic tournament with some brilliant rugby, especially from the eventual winners the Vondos. What was even better to see than the level of rugby was the amount of supporters in the stadium. They were singing for all 3 hours!
The next day we had national team training. All the players had played last night though so were dead come 8 in the morning so we just went through some technical work. That night we then celebrated the Vondos victory and so went to a couple of local bars in Malkerns. Some girls from the UK who were in Swaziland travelling through the country joined us later that night (Rachel’s friends) making our table the most popular location in Swaziland let alone the bar we were in! A great night and in the morning Wilson told me that loads of people now wanted to join the Vondos so that they can meet, “UK chicks!!” Another very funny week in the Kingdom!
(Volunteer Vacations has volunteer rugby coaching placements in Swaziland. A 28-day placement costs £1,600 and price includes local airport/coach stop transfers, accommodation at Sondzelas Backpackers set within Mlilwane National Park, all food, sim card, transport to placements, Level 1 rugby coaching course. Additional weeks £200 each. For more details see http://www.volunteervacations.co.uk or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel: 07833 208 158