By Rob Hinschberger:
You hear it from other Scholars on how quickly your time will move but nonetheless, it is surprising to think I’ve worked five weeks with SOCGA. We have been hit with some cool and rainy weather, particularly on the weekends during free time, so I have been a bit limited in terms of adventuring. That said, I did do a brief hike up a mini mountain a couple weekends back that allowed me to overlook the capital city, Mbabane. Refreshing and a quiet reminder of how lucky I am to be in the position to travel to another country, work my internship and complete my degree here.
Bombaso’s is still empty – I’ve had a couple visitors for a night or two but other then that it’s been quiet. Luckily the security guard, Zaama, likes to play pool and therefore, we’ve had some good battles. My boss, Muriel introduced me to her husband Rudy, and took me out for Chinese lunch last Sunday. It was nice to get out with good company and chat about past, present, future, and get a better understanding of her perspectives and outlook for SOCGA and Olympafrica Centre (OAC). The day prior, I traveled about an hour on the kombi to a spot called Swazi Candles – some of the designs they create truly are amazing. Picked up a sweet gift for my sister that I’m pumped about because she always seems to find great gifts and it’s about time I return the favour! (ha). This past Saturday, co-workers from both the office and OAC came over to Bombaso’s for a nice little shin dig – despite the rain and cold there was plenty of fun to be had. The braii lunch was fantastic, cooked by Dalton and Bandile – hoping we can create that family atmosphere a few more times before my departure!
Work wise – most recently, on Friday September 30 we held an event called Taiwan Games at OAC. With over 720 students from eight different primary schools located across Swaziland, it was a congested day – both fun and hectic. It goes without saying, but the amount of time to create the event doesn’t even compare with the actual event time. Students arrived shortly before 9AM and were on the bus to depart back to schools by 3PM. Personally, being the event coordinator I was a bit disappointed with the state of affairs (although I was told it was well run and the way things go in Swaziland) but it offered a very good learning experience.
Having worked as a volunteer in events back home in Canada, it is well known that a successful event cannot be run without tremendous work and energy from the volunteers. That will typically begin with proper recruitment, orientation, and training on the event’s part. That is one area of concern with the development of events here in Swaziland that became apparent – we didn’t have nearly enough man power, “training” didn’t commence until an hour before the event started, and the energy was lethargic. Granted, without a clear indication of roles it may be tough to be as enthusiastic as hoped but it was overall, shocking and a tad disappointing. I hope to address with Olympafrica Centre before my time is up with their program coordinator and lead volunteers that proper organization will allow for a smoother transition from start to finish.
Also, the unwillingness of the teachers to offer help was shocking and frustrating – these are the role models the children spend the majority of their days with and most wanted to sit under a tree for the duration of the day (they had been told they would be needed as group leaders or event volunteers). Positively speaking though, the children were having fun going through a rotation of activities that included our Sport Values 4 Life TRRFCC (trust, respect, responsibility, fair play, caring, and community) song and dance, bowling, cup games, skipping, baseball hitting, and an obstacle relay race. Hopefully, the teachers and/or the children will continue to incorporate these activities in their daily plans!
My next couple projects will focus on OAC as I will begin going to work there every day in Lobamba as opposed to the SOCGA office in Mbabane. Muriel and I have decided that the creation of a risk registry for the Centre is necessary – this is ideal considering I partook in a class surrounding risk management. Applying knowledge from class into practical skills was one main reason I looked forward to my internship with SOCGA and so far, it appears I’ll leave with plenty of experience. In addition, there needs to policies and/or structure set in place for facility and program management. I truly believe in the potential the OAC has – it needs guidance, some motivation, and definitely leadership – assets I know I can bring. I’m looking forward to including all the volunteers in the creation of these policies and procedures – after all, they are the ones who will be here (hopefully) taking control of it well after I have left.
Lastly, and tied into the first two is creating an operational plan that Muriel wants me to present to the Trust (essentially board of directors for the OAC) in a meeting late November. This again seems like a fantastic opportunity to showcase and develop multiple skills that can help me prepare for the ‘working world’ upon graduation. I enjoy presenting and I look forward to convincing the Trust that OAC is an influential part of developing youth and sport in this country. Really looking forward to the next couple months of work – tied in with my major project for my internship project at Brock, it shows no signs of slowing down!
Not going to lie, I miss watching sports – hockey, football Sundays and baseball. I’ve tried streaming but the internet doesn’t want to cooperate so I guess it’ll be December before I get my first taste of it. Another dominate performance from Canada in a best vs best tournament from what I read and hopefully those Jays win the Wild Card game to face the nemesis in Texas! Get a pretty awesome surprise with the girlfriend arriving in a few short weeks – a trip to a safari and zip lining are planned, along with some hikes (Siebebe Rock perhaps?) and some Swazi food and dance. That’s all for now -until the next blog, adios!