By Matthew Hagopian:
It’s been quite a while since I last posted in this blog, but I would like to recap on what took place during my final few weeks with SOCGA. If you have been following this blog then you would already have known about the adventure I set off to do with Noreen. We set off to climb Sibebe at the annual “Sibebe Survivor” which is a 5000 participant climb up the world’s largest granite rock. On August 6th, it was projected to start at 8am, but like a lot of us, we already began our ascent as early as 7am. The atmosphere of everyone was amazing, and we ran into various random Dj’s along our climb, different organizational groups, and many more locals!
There was a lot of paper work to be done following the TFCF Sports Bonanza which I previously spoke about last month; in addition to this, my last task was to organize, plan, and implement a Futbolnet Tournament consisting of 580 students. The best part about this task was that I was in control, and had complete freedom to create the tournament. This meant that I needed to identify a way to gather the students, find a suitable location for the tournament, recruit volunteers, work with the financial advisor to budget the event, co-ordinate the event with the Secretary General of SOCGA, etc.
All in all, it felt as if each event that I took part in during this internship led me to gain the necessary skills in order to implement my own tournament. The amount of written work, planning, co-ordination, detail, etc. put into running an event is amazing; and I got to learn every aspect of that through these events. This event took place at the Nkambeni Sporting Ground; where five primary schools came together to compete in a day long event. I will spare you all of the written details, but overall it was a complete success and you can see from the photos, how much the students enjoyed the tournament.
With just a couple of weekends left, I decided to take part in the Hlane National Park Game Reserve, and the Mkhaya Game Reserve. I booked through Swazi Trails and they set me up with a private driver who acts more like a friend than anything. His name was Thulani, and during downtime between Game Rides, he took me to secret watering holes for lunch and some drinks; where we could spot every type of animal (you name it!). The most memorable experience that I’ll take home from the safaris happened when we spotted a full grown male elephant….and its child.
On the right you can see the two elephants that I am talking about. While the driver was occupied in the car, the baby elephant decided to walk around the left side of the field (which the safari driver did not notice). It wasn’t until the baby emerged from a group of bushes and started happily strutting towards us that the driver went completely white, and began staring down the male elephant. The rest of us could only remember the driver whispering “everyone…camera’s down…” and “don’t you dare come at us…don’t you dare”. None of us took him seriously, until the elephant slowly began to approach us…and that is when we began to hear a bit of the Siswati profanity from the driver….We got away, nothing but a bit of a fright, but quite an experience!
Lastly, on the 18th of August, we held my farewell party and Pretty’s birthday at the same time. It was a day to remember; we had a braii with all of the SOCGA staff and it could not have been more perfect. The staff surprised me with a few gifts. I received a typical Swazi shirt, a SOCGA notebook, a few SOCGA pins, and an official SOCGA pen and USB Drive. Not only that, but I was presented with a “Frontball Champion” trophy from Dalton.
Because SOCGA was an organization that is always handing out and awarding trophies/medals to all sorts of people, I thought it would be a good idea to present them with a few of my own trophies. I called them the “2017 SOCGA Awards” and based them off of inside jokes, memories, and traits each staff member was most memorable with me for. I will greatly miss this organization, and most importantly all of my friends that I have been able to work with during this entire internship. I’ve said it once, and I’ll probably continue to say this for a while, but I will definitely be back soon! SOCGA will be missed!!!
This will be my last post for this blog, and I’d like to wish Nick Hayman good luck (the intern who will be replacing me)! You’ll have a wonderful experience there!
As for me, I just landed in the Czech Republic to visit my girlfriend Eva for a few weeks, and then hopefully I will return back to Canada to begin my Graduate Degree!
Thanks again to Brock University, Commonwealth Games Canada, and SOCGA for allowing me to take part in this opportunity! I have learned more during this internship than I ever could have imagined!