By Mitch McSweeney:
Sadly, the end of mine and Jenna’s internship in Swaziland is nearing an end and we will be departing back to Canada in two weeks time. It will be sad to say goodbye to the culture and lifestyle we have become immersed in, the beautiful country we have spent the past four months in, and, most especially, the people who welcomed us and have become our friends.
But before the last farewell, there has been a lot going on both at the OAC and at SOCGA. Although I am not at SOCGA, the offices have been kept busy with the Rio Olympics now underway. The two Swaziland athletes participating had departed to Rio with other people from Swaziland a few days prior to the Opening Ceremonies, and safely made it to Rio. The athletic competitions do not begin until Friday, which is what the two Swazi athletes are participating in. Both the OAC and SOCGA offices will be watching to see how the Swazi athlete’s perform, and most definitely will be cheering them on!
At the OAC offices, we are beginning the second phase of the Taiwan Fund for Children and Families sport and educational project, which will involve teaching different sports to the schools than what we taught during the first round of visits. The sports that will be taught during these visits will include: futbolnet (football competitions involving both boys and girls, who create the rules of the game themselves), target throwing, 80M run, spoon races, and the obstacle course. Visiting the schools with my coworkers and other volunteers has been one of my favourite parts of the internship – I have learned different sports I had not tried previously and also have seen how to properly teach technical skills to youth and adults. During these school visits, it is common for a dance-off to occur, and I have even joined in on a couple of them (although I am no where near as good as my coworkers at dancing….).
Before we leave, Jenna and I will be hoping to do some things that we have not gotten to yet, including hiking up execution mountain (where criminals used to be executed in the older days of Swaziland); visit some traditional shops; and, of course, say goodbye for good to our co-workers and friends, which hopefully will not be the last time we see them (planning for it not to be). Additionally, I had the opportunity to travel to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe this past week, which was an incredible trip and an awe-inspiring view. I can now say that I saw one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and it most definitely was! The waterfall was beautiful, and much longer than Niagara Falls in Canada, although I am still on the fence about which one is better…
We’ve also already had one goodbye – our Finnish friends who stayed at the same lodge with us left back to Finland two weeks ago. We had a big party for them before they left and ate traditional Swazi food and dressed up in traditional Swazi dress. The food and party was great, however sad as it was a goodbye. Unfortunately, it won’t be soon until we have a goodbye party and say our farewells to all. But before then, these next two weeks will have to be the best yet in Swaziland!
Until next time! Sala kahle!