I arrived in Swaziland on Monday afternoon after a long journey from Edinburgh. I was greeted at the airport by Wilson, one of the coaches who made to feel very welcome. At the SKRUM offices I met Michael, Linda and the other SKRUM volunteer worker, Beth. I was given the day to settle in and in the evening I had my first experience of the delicious food on offer by Michael and Linda.
The following day I was introduced to the charity work by Wilson where he showed me the progress already made and the future aims of the charity. After meeting the other coach, Naomi, we all set out to introduce the programme to a new school. I noticed the contrast in wealth between Britain and Swaziland here as many of the children were shoeless and the education resources were extremely limited. All of the schools were very enthusiastic about accepting the SKRUM programme and it is clear how successful the charity has been.
The following day we visited two more schools to carry out coaching sessions with the children, it was amazing to see how the kids took to rugby with such joy and how excited it made them. The children love singing the SKRUM phrase as well ‘Pass the Ball, NOT the virus’. Although not fully educating the children on HIV/AID’s this does raise the topic subconsciously as well as bringing joy to the youngsters through song.
On Thursday Beth and myself had a day off to go to the Mkhaya Game Reserve whilst Mike and Wilson visited new schools. It was a great day out and we managed to see Elephants, Giraffes, Wilderbeast, Hippos, Zebras, as well as the extremely rare Black Rhino.
On Friday I was involved in my first Teachers Coaches Workshop, where the coaches train teachers in how to coach basic rugby, so that they can return to their schools and carry on coaching their pupils.
On Friday night Wilson, Beth and myself went out to a local bar and club to mark the end of Beth’s stay in Swaziland, it was a great night and a nice way to say goodbye to Beth. My first week has been amazing, the charity work has been eye opening and I have had a great time staying with Michael and Linda.
For more information on this placement have a look at http://www.volunteervacations.co.uk. You can give us a ring on (0044) 01483 331551 or (0044) 07833 208 158 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.