VOLUNTEER BLOG IN SWAZILAND: Bethany Neave – Driving around Mr. President and the opening of the Christmas Emporium

Today again I was told I would be helping the shop, which is good as it is really coming along nicely and today is the day Linda wants to officially open!

Before I went to help Linda in the shop, I was the President’s (Michael Collinson) driver for the morning.  From the house,  we drove down past the new land and went searching for a quick route up to the local wildlife park so that we could get home quickly.  This was the first bit of proper 4×4 driving I have ever done, it was very exciting!

I went through a river and over some very bumpy terrain.  I was told you always have to keep the middle of the car away from the bumpy bits as if you catch the bottom of the fuel tank you are “screwed”, as Michael put it.  We drove past some very run down and smelly houses that just stank and just down the road there were some really nice houses.   It was such a contrast to see.  Michael also told me that it is a Swazi custom  when you see someone you have to greet and wave to them.  Also, when it comes to old Swazi women you have to be especially polite and they are back to you.  The children all chased the car and shouted SKRUM!  We had been to their school previously, coached and painted a Sipho so they recognised the car!

Once this was done, we drove all the way to Mbabane and he pointed out the highest Sipho in all of Swaziland. We were on the high velt today and I knew this as I felt my eyes pop as we got higher and higher on the highway . I did nearly have a little accident on the highway as I totally forgot the mirror part of “mirror, signal and move”, so therefore I nearly hit a truck and got beeped at!

The first place that we went was to pick up the National team trophy from the Ngwenya handmade glass shop.  Before I went to collect it,  Michael suggested that I should go have a look at all the shops around where the glass place was.  All the shops were really cute and all the handmade Swaziland jewellery was stunning and I am defenately coming back with my money and buying some for people and myself!

An example of the type of thing you can buy at Ngwenya Glass

Finally,  I went to collect the trophy.  It was an amazing trophy, made entirely of glass and had stood up 3D models the counties Botswana and Swaziland, with a glass rugby post and ball on the cross bar in front of it!  Chaz, the boss of the glass works, came out to show Michael and joked that Michael was the only customer that he always had to come out and see.  Michael said “Well why would I leave his office (referring to the car) –  it had leather seats, air conditioning and cup holders”!

I am also very happy as I have found some lovely gifts for my mother and father. I cannot say in the blog what they are as both my mum and dad read it so I don’t want it give it away.  After doing a few more jobs such as getting some food, returning the Botswana flag and picking up some glass for Linda, we went to the shop.  On the drive back Michael got a burping fit and it was hilarious I told Linda and she called him Burpy!

There are two girls that Linda employs in the shop:  one of them is brilliant and does everything and is so nice and helpful, the other one we have now nicked named “slow coach” as she is frustratingly slow, and makes your angry how slow she is going!

We put up a massive Christmas tree and as we were deciding how to decorate, it one of Linda’s friends and her kid came in to see the shop. Amy, the young girl, had helped Linda in the shop before.  She was only 6 and was so keen to help.  There was literally glitter everywhere in the shop at this point and she loved getting it in her hair and feet so we called her “our little glitter fairy helper”.

The way we had decided to decorate the tree was such as genius idea by Linda.  It was to put loads and loads of glitter and roses all over it! The glitter fairy helped by passing up the roses and putting on the glitter (more on herself than the tree!)  Once the tree was looking amazing,  I was given the task of painting the wooden heart and putting ribbons on them to hand in the window.  These hearts are carved wooden hearts with a bit of coloured ribbon in the top painting in smelling oil! I think it is such a simple but awesome idea; I’m defenatelytaking some home for the house!

Linda went to order us some Pizza to have for dinner and as I was sweeping in the shop two policemen came into the shop.   It was funny as all they said was ‘Don’t worry we are just stalking!’ which I thought was funny but a bit weird!  After collecting the pizzas and closing the shop up, I got to drive the Kia home on my own. I had a little issue before we left as I didn’t know how to turn the lights on!

The pizza was so nice and I was so full after I had finished! Once letting my food go down I went to chat to my mum and sister on Skype. I was telling them I had found their presents and told Amy her present was from Woolworths!  She was freaked out and said “Woolworths is rubbish – I hate that shop” and I thought it closed down!  After this I had to explain that over here Woolworths is a very nice shop and she should not panic! haha

Bethany Neave

(Bethany is on a volunteer placement with the charity SKRUM in Swaziland which involves rugby coaching to the schools and community, painting the charity’s logo on the walls of schools, AIDS education and assisting in every aspect of running this charity.  For more details see


(0044) 01483 331551/  (0044) 07833 208 158

About www.volunteervacations.co.uk

We send gap year students, university students, families, people on Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award and people on career breaks to coach sports, teach and work in orphanages, work in marine conservation, primates conservation, land conservation, looking after rescued jungle animals, animal welfare, women's empowerment programs (sewing/fashions), men's empowerment programs (carpentry, plumbling, electrics, DIY), medical shadowing (doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists), after schools clubs, reaching out to underprivileged children and adults in South Africa, Kenya, Swaziland, Mozambique, Ghana, Ecuador and The Galapagos, Thailand and India. In Swaziland we offer bespoke rugby coaching placements with the charity Skrum where volunteers (18 ) can take their Level 1 rugby coaching certificate and then travel on to other placements and coach rugby. In India, the placements are suitable for families and undeer 18's are accepted providing they are accompanied by an adult. India is also suitable for Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award. We also offer building renovation and reconstruction in India in July. India placements can be from 2 to 12 weeks.
This entry was posted in AIDS in Africa, AIDS in Swaziland, Gap Year, Gap Year in Swaziland, Level 1 rugby coaching in Swaziland, rugby charities in Africa, rugby coaching in Africa, SKrum, sports coaching abroad, Swaziland National Rugby Team, Swaziland rugby, The Volunteer Experience, Uncategorized, Volunteer rugby coaching abroad, volunteer rugby coaching in Swaziland and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to VOLUNTEER BLOG IN SWAZILAND: Bethany Neave – Driving around Mr. President and the opening of the Christmas Emporium

  1. silver price says:

    In 1988, Eduard Tatulian , the Soviet director of rugby coaching, said in an outspoken interview that the USSR required ten times as many coaches and referees as it had.

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