We woke up good and early today to get ready for the day of the girl child! Once we were all ready, it was my turn to drive so we set off to the nearest field that the games were planned to be played in. The children were already there when we arrived and there were lots of them so that was great to see!
We hit a little problem as the field that we were meant to be playing on is owned by Swazi Can and they were having an important visitor so suddenly said that we weren’t allowed to use the field! However, we overcame this issue as there was another public field just down the road that we could use. We notified the children and teachers and moved to the other field. This worked out ok in the end as it gave us a chance to set up pitches and banners before the children arrived.
The games got off to a good start. Wilson was the ref for the first two games and I observed. There was one team that had really been training and you could see the difference in level of play from the stand out team. They really had the evasive running and passing skills to a high level. It was really great to see what can be achieved with a girls rugby team. The other two teams had some strengths and some really good stand out players. However, the general knowledge of the game was not there and at times it looked like they were playing netball not rugby, although with training and coaching you could really see the potential for the other two teams!
I was the ref for the last match and it was so much fun to ref. The two teams were quite equally matched and it was a close game. It was such a good experience to see the girls playing and having so much fun! During this match it was time for Wilson, Michael and I to decide on a player of the tournament. The girl that was chosen was from one of the weaker teams but she was an outstanding player. There is photo along with this blog where she has the ball and no one is looking at her in the right direction – it is amazing! As well as this, she definitely had a bit of attitude but good attitude – she was a little fire ball! After all the matches were done, we went back to the house to collect some giveaways for her a prize. We came back to the field and found her and she was so happy to get all the kit, it really made her and all of us smile.
Once all the school child’s matches were done and the winning team had been given their jerseys, we organised a teacher/coach V best student players match. All I can say is that this was hilarious we had me, Wilson, Vuma, two other male teachers and a female teacher (who was so funny!) on our team playing the best chosen children. I said to Wilson before the match that it will be really embarrassing if they beat us! Lucky for us we were able to win but it was just a whole lot of fun and all the spectators loved it! The female teacher who had played for us was buzzing – she said she had so much fun playing and had never played before that match. We suggested a teacher tag rugby team and she got so excited and was very keen!
The day of the girl child really was a great success and you could really see the enjoyment that the children got from the tournament and general feel of the day! This was by far one of my favourite days and all the photos that Michael took really do show the fun and hilarity of the day!
We were meant to have a coaching session at William Pitcher – the teacher college – in the afternoon but they had something else on so it was cancelled. However, this meant that I got to drive all the way to the capital and get some jobs done. I was very proud of myself as I didn’t even come close to killing us all this time and Michael said yes this was indeed very good.
When we got back to base I had a little issue as my memory stick broke which was very annoying but lucky all the stuff I had on it is backed up. The evening consisted of a big thunder and lightning storm that cut the power four times, so this meant mosaic by candle light again.
Today was such a good day and really good not only to see rugby being played, but girls playing it was just amazing to see and be a part of!
(If you would like to know more about rugby coaching/AIDS education/helping run this outstanding charity in Swaziland as a volunteer (or any of our other volunteer projects abroad), check out our website http://www.volunteervacations.co.uk, or give us a ring on 01483 331551/07833 208 148 or send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org)