Today we were up early and were out the door and in the car my 7:30. We had to get up this early as we were travelling down south to ‘the bush’, as Wilson put it. It was scorching weather today and the sun was so hot it was unbelievable and it was so dry and dusty as well. Malindi was very annoyed that he was driving so refused to let anyone else get any sleep easily. Michael would prod you or Malindi would pretend to crash the car and shout really loudly!
We were going down to this end of the country as there are many new schools that SKRUM has not visited yet. The first school we visited was quite a big one out of the ones I have seen and we had to wait outside the headmaster’s office, I felt like little school girl again! The reason was soon made clear why we had to wait for the headmaster. All you heard was him shouting and Malindi and Wilson laughed and then explained that he was saying ‘why do you kiss each other in front of other students?!’ After he shouted all you heard was a loud couple of slaps and the child coming out clutching their bums! Swaziland is different about corporal punishment. They are allowed to hit students but the only rule is the stick is not allowed to by longer than a certain length.
After visiting many primary and secondary schools with all the responses being very positive, in the schools we would ask to speak to the head or the sports teacher and then give them information and get contact information from them. We did this to just promote SKRUM in the schools and then arrange to arrange training sessions for them in the future.
This was all very interesting and the positive comments and reactions from the heads and sports teachers was very exciting! As we were driving around Michael thought it was time to tell the boys about my love of pies… great! Malindi and I are no longer friends as he immediately came up with ‘Winnie you’re a PIEoneer!’ The name did not please me but I had to give him points for originality and speed. After this there were many more jokes such as my favourite fruit could be PIEnapple! Forever more now I am going to be called “Winnie the pieoneer volunteer’. Haha!!
At one of the future schools in town, we were waiting outside to see the head master and Wilson was explaining to Malindi where to go next and waving his hands around. He failed to see me standing close by next to him and the next thing I knew he had hit me in the face!
Before going to the teachers college we took a little diversion to the monument where King George of England and the King of Swaziland had famously met. I have to admit the concept was very interesting and impressive. The monument on the other had looked like some toilets with some writing on it. However, it was very interesting and good to get a little bit of history in my trip.
After visiting the teacher college a few times to try and pin down the guy we were looking for we left and went to King Pie for some lunch. This was the first pie I have brought from King Pie and it was lovely! After this, we were driving to the final school we got a phone call that Malindi was set to speak on Swaswati radio in 5 minutes! I obviously didn’t understand the interview but I got that he was promoting the National match this Saturday and they all said he did very well.
We got lots of contact details and positive reactions to rugby today so this was very good news and made the trip worthwhile! Let’s just say thank god for air conditioning!
Once we had travelled back to Manzini, we arrived at a teacher college called William Pitcher. This training session was awesome as there were like 60 of them half boys and half girls. We warmed up (Not that we needed to, it was boiling!) and then we started the coaching session. I went with Wilson and the girls and we started with passing drills where they split into 2 lines facing each other and progressing of just passing, to passing backwards and then into a competition! The girls really got into this and I joined in at various times. When they got excited they didn’t scream, they screeched and it was such a good atmosphere to be in!
Michael was taking photos of this training session and said some of the photos he had to delete as some of the girls either wore ill-fitting bras or no bras so let’s just say that boobs were out! The training session was a great success and they all wanted it to be longer so we are going back next Thursday for another one.
Finally we returned back to base and we worked out that we had travelled 190 miles that day! After dinner it was time for an early night.
Bethany Neave (Bethany is doing a volunteer placement in Swaziland which involves rugby coaching to schools and the community, painting, the charity’s logo on the outside of schools, assisting in AIDS education and generally helping in all aspects of running this charity)