By Trevor Teeuwsen:
My internship is now officially complete and I am back home safely in Canada. I had a truly unforgettable experience in Botswana and I will miss all the amazing people I met, but it is also good to be back in Canada with friends and family.
Our last week in Botswana was awesome, but also very hectic. We were a little bit pressed for time as we made all the final arrangements for the beach volleyball tournament. Luckily, we were able to take care of all the necessary preparations before Saturday rolled around. These included finding a catering company, having t-shirts and certificates printed, purchasing a trophy and medals, and ensuring that everybody received invitations to the tournament.
We were also busy putting the final touches on our Long Term Athlete Development model and its accompanying action plan. Some time had to be set aside as well for our farewell lunch at the Botswana National Olympic Committee and our final meeting with the coaches who were involved with our beach volleyball program. Upon arriving in Botswana, I was only granted a 90 day stay so I also had to rush to the immigration office to extend my stay by a few days to accommodate my flight.
The weekend before the beach tournament, a friend introduced me to a local who is the captain of a recreational soccer team. I was itching to play soccer my whole time in Botswana and I finally got my chance as he agreed to include me in his team for a game. It was difficult at first to play on the dirt field as I am accustomed to playing on grass. I was able to adjust eventually and managed to score a goal as our team won 8-5. Meeting the team captain also provided a great opportunity to raise awareness about beach volleyball because he was the owner of a local media company that does profiles on sport in Botswana. Liz and I completed a few interviews with him and invited him to the tournament as well to get some footage of the kids playing. His profile on beach volleyball will air on the BTV, the local government-run television channel, and will hopefully inspire more people in Botswana to participate in beach volleyball.
Our beach volleyball tournament was a success and it was great to see all of our hard work come together. The kids had a great time and everybody was proud to see how far they had come in just eight weeks. We had three different brackets running to make sure all the kids got a lot of playing time, boys 2 on 2, girls 2 on 2, and mixed 4 on 4. The tournament ran smoothly and we were able to wrap up all of our games by 3:30 PM. The closing ceremonies began shortly after where Liz and I were persuaded to give speeches along with the officials from the Botswana National Olympic Committee and Botswana Volleyball Federation. All the coaches and kids who participated were given certificates, and gold, silver, and bronze medals were given to the winners from each of the three brackets. A trophy was also given to the school that performed the best overall, Mogoditshane.
The rest of the week was spent hanging out with friends a few last times before I had to leave. We had one last braai on Sunday and invited everyone to ensure we saw as many of our friends as possible before our time was up. The morning of my flight, I finally went for a walk in the botanical garden right beside my housing complex. Staying true to African time, I got to the airport just in time for my flight and was on my way home.
I can’t say enough good things about my experience and I hope I get a chance to go back to Botswana one day. This will be my last blog so I would like to give big thank yous to Brock University and Commonwealth Games Canada for giving me this opportunity. I would also like to say thank you to everyone who has read this blog and kept up with our adventures in Botswana. It’s been a blast.