By Trevor Teeuwsen:
It’s hard to believe we have been in Gabs for almost a month. The days have been flying by despite being on Africa time now. The FIVB Beach Volleyball 1 course is now complete and all of the local coaches passed. The course was capped off with a closing ceremony where the participants were urged to share the knowledge they gained with others and grow beach volleyball in Botswana. The Capital Motors volleyball tournament concluded over the weekend, with Kalavango being crowned the women’s club champions and Polive VI taking home the men’s title. We were able to watch the women’s bronze medal game and the men’s final on Sunday. Both games were very exciting and the men’s final featured many players from Botswana’s national team. The final was broadcast live and Elizabeth made an appearance on local television when she was picked from the crowd to do a fan interview.
On Monday we began working out of the Botswana National Sport Commission offices, which are located underneath the bleachers of the National Stadium. Specifically, we now work out of the Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) office with their Sport Development Officer, Mr. Peaceful Seleka. We are working closely with him to develop and implement a beach volleyball program for local youth. We selected five schools in Gaborone where 3 boys and 3 girls from each school will be selected to take part in the program. Two coaches who completed the FIVB Beach Volleyball 1 course will be assigned to each school where they will have two 1 hour sessions with the kids each week. There are only two beach volleyball courts in Gaborone so we will have to work out the logistics to ensure the kids get as much time on the sand as possible.
After our first week working on the beach program, we got to experience the natural beauty of Botswana on the weekend. Our friends from the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) took us out to a cattle post on Saturday where we got a first-hand look at farming in Botswana. We helped tend to the cattle, tried some delicious goat meat, and picked some watermelons and corn from the fields. We saw a lot of beautiful scenery on the way back to Gabs and even got the truck stuck trying to get a better view. On Sunday, another friend from the BNOC took us on a game drive at the Gaborone Game Reserve where we saw ostriches, impalas, monkeys, warthogs, various types of birds and a few zebras.
We are continuing the development of the BVF beach program this week and expect to begin training sessions for the kids next week. We have been meeting with the schools to get their permission for their students’ participation and to use their facilities to run our program. We have also been developing a training plan for the coaches to ensure all the kids are learning the same material. On Saturday our coaches will take part in a safety training course so they are able to appropriately deal with medical concerns if they arise during the program. We are very excited for the program to begin and to oversee the development of young beach volleyball players.
Check back in two weeks for more updates from Elizabeth’s blog.