By Alexander Longwell:
Monday March 13th 2017 saw the nations and territories of the Commonwealth come together to celebrate Commonwealth Day. For those who have never heard of Commonwealth Day, it takes place every year on the second Monday in March. It is a day set aside for citizens of the Commonwealth to come together and observe the importance of the Commonwealth and all it has to offer. It promotes the shared values of peace, democracy, and equality and celebrates the rich diversity of the association. Further Commonwealth Day launches the theme for the Commonwealth, this year’s theme being a “Peace building Commonwealth”. This year Commonwealth Day also marked the beginning of the Queen’s Baton’s ambitious journey across the nations and territories of the Commonwealth.
We invited a local Neighbourhood Care Point (NPC) from Lobamba to the Olympafrica Centre to join us in celebrating Commonwealth Day. We had 69 kids, split almost evenly between girls and boys all between 4 and 6 years old. The children from the NCP arrived at the OAC around 10am and Bandile started them off with a 15 minute educational session on the Commonwealth, Commonwealth Day, the Commonwealth Games and the Queen’s Baton Relay. Following this the children where taken out to one of the courts and they did a warm up, which included the TRRFCC song and dance, before they participated in an obstacle course relay. Following the relay we had them decorate the letters that make up “COMMONWEALTH DAY” and we skyped with the main SOCGA office. We had originally hope to skype with a school from Lesotho however we unable to connect with them.
When the activities concluded Bandile and I walked the children and teachers back to their school, which was approximately 10 minutes from the OAC. A couple of the children decided they wanted to hold my hand the entire way back, so I did. Unfortunately I was unable to understand what they were saying to me, however they enjoyed they walk all the same. When Bandile and I left the school a few grabbed hold of me and were saying in SiSwati, you must stay here with us. When they finally let me leave they began to say good bye, and I had to laugh after Bandile told me exactly what they were saying. In SiSwati they were all yelling “good bye white guy”. Add another one to the amazing memories Swaziland has provided me with.
In addition to the activities at the OAC, we gathered photos from many around Swaziland “Joining Hands for Peace”. We posted the photos we received on social media as part of the celebration. I was also able to get my parents to send me photos of them doing the joining hands photo, and they went one step further. They took a picture of a couple Canadian Rowers and the Canadian VIP lounge at the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IRHSA) conference in Los Angeles.
Until Next time,