By Dante Losardo:
Dumela! Hi Everyone!
It’s been just over a month since I landed in Gabs and I can honestly say that I’ve adjusted and that I am feeling very comfortable in my surroundings. I can’t believe how fast time has been going so far. I’ve managed to have some great experiences in my short time here so far, and plan to have even more by doing some traveling in the not too distant future. As of next week I will be off to Cape Town in South Africa for a few days with some of my new friends that I’ve met here.
As the time has passed I have started to see some of the animals that wander along the sides of the roads in Gaborone. The most constant that I will see walking back and forth from work are the cows that are let out on the sides of the road to graze. I always have to remind myself to be aware when walking through these areas to avoid stepping in anything undesirable. In addition to the cows, goats are also let out to wander down the main roads and it just amazes me watching them weave in and out of traffic on their way across the street. The most entertaining wild animals that I have come into contact with so far are the monkeys that run around the roads and perch on the fences near the house.
As far as work goes, we are really starting to get into the swing of things. My job is to organize and run a learn-to-swim program for young children within the city. This program will adhere to the BLTAD (Botswana Long Term Athlete Development) plan that has been developed for the sport of swimming. We are currently continuing on with the the second half of the first stage of the development model. We decided to continue the program with the same children from the Gaborone YWCA and SOS Children’s Villages that participated in the program in the last term. This allows us to continue to build upon the skills that have already been learnt instead of starting a new program again from scratch.
Last week we ran our coaches training module for the second half of our learn-to-swim program. Darrell Morton of Darrell Morton’s School of Swimming agreed to come out to provide a lesson to our coaches again this term. Darrell along with Thobo have been a great help throughout this entire process so far. Leading up to the session we hit some hiccups (one coach dropped out the night before), but overall the session was successful and the information that was provided by Darrell Morton and Thobo was very useful and should serve our coaches well.
As for the actual swim sessions we had hoped to start them on Friday February 24th, but due to factors outside of my control we had to postpone. This setback was caused because of the bad weather (lots of rain and thunder) over the past week. The schools and the children’s parents just were not comfortable sending their children to swim during those conditions (even with indoor pools). This is only a minor setback however and we have just changed the timeframe from a 7 week program into a 6 week one. Hopefully in my next post I’ll have some pictures to add from the swim sessions.
In addition to running the learn-to-swim program, I have also been tasked with helping to develop an action plan for swimming in conjunction with the BSSA (Botswana Swimming Sports Association) and the local swim clubs. We have a workshop tentatively scheduled for this Saturday in order to receive feedback on the current BLTAD and to develop a committee that I will be working with to develop to action plan that will serve as a guide to help grow the sport in Botswana up to the year 2020.
Outside of work I have made some observations about the city of Gaborone, and the people that live here that seem quite odd to Canadian eyes. The main thing being people’s strong aversion to so called cold weather. Basically any weather that is below around 25 degrees Celsius, you will see some people walking around outside wearing full coats and long pants. When this happens I always get more stares than usual walking on my way to work as I will be wearing shorts and a t-shirt and often sweating profusely from my walk in the summer heat. Writing this I can’t help but laugh to myself as it reminds me of my Dad’s constant complaints about the cold back home (in any pretty much any month that isn’t July or August!)
Even within the office, a lot of the conversation with some of my coworkers often touches on how the weather is this time of year back home. My favourite part is telling them what that day’s temperature is back in Hamilton and just watching them shake their heads in bemusement while saying that it’s much too cold. Over the past few days however, the weather has cooled off somewhat as the rain has come in. One day last week it was actually the same temperature here as it was back in Hamilton!
Overall, my experience here has been a very good one and I would recommend it to any students back home that may have the opportunity to come down here in the future.
Till Next Time,