By Elizabeth Kujbida:
Dumela (hello) everyone!
It has been a little over two weeks since Trevor and I touched down at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone, and it’s already been an amazing experience! Everyone here has been amazing and has welcomed us with open arms (and has been very understanding as we continue to work on our Setswana!)
Our travel consisted of three flights and about 35 hours of travel, including a ten-hour layover in London that we most definitely used to our advantage and took in some sights, and an accidental (almost) immigration into Zimbabwe. We landed in Gaborone and quickly learned that the previous QE Scholars were by no means lying when they said that people here run on “Africa Time,” so about 3 hours after landing, BK, one of the drivers for the BNOC, picked us up!
BK took us from the airport, directly to the house of a friend of Simba’s (our new roommate), we put our luggage in a spare room, and immediately were immersed in introductions to new friends and Simba’s friend’s daughter’s 4th birthday party! We were treated to a wide array of drinks and great food, all while getting to know new people before heading to Simba’s and getting settled in our new house!
On Monday we went to the BNOC office for the first time for orientation. There we met Tapiwa and Modise, the people we are reporting to while we are here, and Peaceful, one of the members of the Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF). We were briefed on what we’re going to be doing while we are here and given an introduction to everyone in the office.
Trevor and I are going to primarily be assisting in the development of the framework for the beach volleyball Botswana Long Term Athlete Development (BLTAD) program, and providing administrative support for the beach volleyball program. We spent the remainder of the first
week drafting a talent ID model for coaches to use to assist in finding the best talent in their program sessions to identify young athletes that have the potential to reach elite level competitions. We also spent time calling companies to get quotes for a first aid course that is going to be held for the coaches in the near future.
Saturday we attended the General Assembly meeting, allowing us the chance to learn more about the BNOC and the sport system in Botswana and were able to meet officials from many of the country’s national sport federations. After the meeting we went with Modise and Ellen (two of our colleagues) to Molepolole to
watch the volleyball tournament being held there, and gauge the talent in Botswana (hint: there’s a lot of it). Monday was the beginning of the five-day coaches’ training session, so we went and attended the opening ceremonies, then the course began and we decided to stay for a bit and get an idea about what the local coaches are going to be learning.
Since arriving, there have been many opportunities to embrace the local culture here with the promise of so much more still to come (highest on the to-do list: use a combi for the first time, and climb Kgale Hill), and I am forever grateful that the people I am with have helped to make the transition as easy as possible. I am thrilled that I have this opportunity, and cannot wait to continue to immerse myself in the culture here!
Until next time,