Thoba blog week 3
This week there has been a massive focus on the national team trip to Botswana.
I was amazed how much work needed to be done to sort out all the problems that can arise in organising such an event – I’m not sure England experienced such problems on their recent tour to SA! But the team travelled to Botswana in fine spirits, and despite a heavy defeat of 69-3 (an even bigger score line was expected), there were some massive positives to be drawn from the match. It was the first ever fully Swazi national team to represent the country, with an average age of 22 years, and average playing experience of just 2 years. The team received countless remarks on their positive attitude, pride and resilience. With around 3 months preparation before the return fixture, there’s plenty of time to reduce the deficit, with work to be done especially with the forwards, and to tighten up game play and match awareness.
I have also been putting together some presentations for both SKRUM and the SRU. I have been working with a previous volunteer- Rachel Middleton- who is heading fundraising back in the UK. We have put together ideas for the implementation of more girls rugby in Swaziland alongside HIV awareness information, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed hearing Rachel’s ideas and views regarding this, which I would not have come up with myself! I have also worked with Malindi, Wilson and Mike to put together a summary of Swaziland Rugby for Mike to present to one of the Princes who is high up in the army over here. We have discussed the importance of the army in relation to rugby in Swaziland, as there is undoubtedly a lot of talent to be exposed.
There have also been a few arrivals recently to SKRUM. One was a huge donation of kit from Gilbert, with hundreds of balls and kit sent over. SKRUM will brand this kit and give it out to winners of tournaments it organises as well as to schools and members of the community that we have trained. I also managed to get into the national newspaper with Wilson and Malindi! Another arrival was a volunteer – Josh Corlett – a self proclaimed good looking scouser, but who is yet to impress any ladies out here!
I’ve also managed to get out and see some of what Swaziland has to offer. Staying at Sondzela is pretty surreal, and within just a hour cycle ride around the national park, I saw zebra, antelope, hippos, wildebeest and monkeys. I’ve managed to get a load of good photos to keep my parents happy! It’s pretty scary to think I’m now into my final week here!