Written by: Cliff Miyaji and Jordan Krauchek
Hello Everyone! Cliff and Jordan here.
We are the new Canadian SportWORKS Officers in Gaborone, Botswana. Unfortunately, we had a rocky start to our trip; the airline lost Cliff’s luggage, while Jordan lost personal items in London. We had delayed flights which led to missed flights in addition to getting swindled in Johannesburg. But we didn’t let this discourage us. We knew that this experience is what we make of it. Our mindset and indefatigability would carry us through.
The weather here is hot and dry. Think of it as Calgary’s hottest days and then some. We first noticed the sounds of birds in the morning and crickets at night. Other culture shock moments include the realization that pedestrians don’t have the right of way and that street food vendors are cheap, common, and delicious. A full meal is about 3 dollars CAD.
We work with the BNOC (Botswana National Olympic Committee) and BoBA (Botswana Boxing Association). We are in the early stages of creating the long-term athletic development framework for the sport of boxing. We are trying to get a better understanding of the boxing scene in Botswana. We were tasked to identify areas of improvement and an implementation plan. Although neither of us has boxed in the traditional sense, we both have experience in combat sports. Cliff is a black belt in Shotokan karate, while Jordan has trained in kickboxing. We are comparing development plans from Canada, the United States, and other African Nations to see which can be integrated with Botswana’s unique boxing structure. We’ve both attended daily training sessions for the senior group (ages 18 and up) to see how they train, see facility needs, and meet the coaches and athletes. On September 12th, the team left the country to compete in the African games in Mozambique, where they medaled gold in one of the weight categories.
We’re looking forward to attending future strategic meetings and other tournaments shortly. In addition, we look forward to observing the Junior (under 18) boxing team and comparing them to their senior counterparts regarding training schedule/regimen.
On the weekends, we try to explore, be active, and learn about the city we are staying in. A bucket list item for Cliff was golfing in Botswana. We only played 9 holes since it gets scalding. For green fees, club, and cart rentals, it costs 40 dollars CAD. We saw monkeys, a foot-long centipede, meerkats, and an African squirrel. It was a surreal experience.
We also visited the Three Dikgosi Monument.
Cliff rolled with the AWA Jiu Jitsu team and managed to pull his hamstring one weekend.
We also participated in World Cleanup Day on September 17th, hosted by the BNOC, partnering with the BNSC, Mogoditshane (Nkoyaphiri), and Ledumadumane communities on a clean-up drive. This was a unique and rewarding experience. From the earlymorning (5 am) to late in the afternoon (4pm), we walked 7 kilometers and cleaned up two localities. Once all the garbage was picked up, there was a conference where we heard the president of BNOC talk.
It has been a short 1 month, and we hope to continue for the next two.
Cliff & Jordan