Written by: Eric Gratton, Canadian SportWORKS Officer
At this point I am a little over halfway through my time here and it sure has gone by fast. The past month has provided me with some amazing experiences, ones that I will certainly never forget. I’ve had the opportunity to see some more of this beautiful country, and work on the Netball LTAD project is steadily moving along!
There are a few trips that I have taken during my spare time that will already be up there for my list of favourite experiences while here. The first was appeasing the rugby player in myself and getting to play a game with the Gaborone Hogs RFC. This one was an away game in Palapye, about a three-hour bus ride away at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) versus their team the Buffalos. It was a rousing win for the Hogs, I started and got to play the full game and even scored a try! The coolest part for me though was how the team got ready for and celebrated the game. Just before the game we broke into song and following the game some of the team sang on the whole three-hour bus ride home; it was incredible.
The second was a weekend in Maun, where I went on a game drive in the Moremi Game Reserve and a mokoro trip in the Okavango Delta. Early in the morning we traveled into the game reserve, where I was able to see tons of wildlife including elephants, zebras, hippos, giraffes and buffalo! The second day was the peaceful mokoro trip. A mokoro is a canoe of sorts that travels around using a long pole that pushes off the ground at the bottom of the delta. It felt extremely unstable as it is very light and rocks around in the waves, but we managed to stay dry!
Finally, and perhaps the most interesting experience I will have come was when myself and colleagues at the BNOC traveled to Takatokwane, a village 180km west of Gabs for Olympic Day celebrations. I really didn’t know what to expect going into the weekend, and none of my coworkers had been there before as well so all I could do was go into it with an open mind and hope for the best. Although the weather didn’t cooperate and it rained on us all day, the locals came out in droves and were energetic throughout the whole day. I was lucky enough to be a part of some songs and dances, play some of their traditional games, and watch some of their traditional ceremonies throughout the day. I was also able to learn how to make seswaa, one of my favorite foods here and we had a braai in the evening. I really enjoyed being able to learn about and be a part of some of the traditional Tswana culture. Takatokwane has made a profound impact on me and will always hold a spot in my heart.
Apart from that, we are progressing well with our LTAD plan for Netball, we’ve identified some relevant gaps in the current infrastructure and created goals that should guide BONA to success in the future! I was also afforded the opportunity to speak about the CSC SportWORKS BLTAD project at the BNOC General Assembly meeting, which had almost all of the National Sporting Associations in attendance!
This trip is flying by, but I’m looking forward to making the most of the remaining time that I have here.