By: Benjamin Kent
Sawubona for the last time readers,
3 months already! Crazy to think about, but my time here in Swaziland has come to an end. I am writing this blog the afternoon of my last day of work. Monday I will be flying back home to Canada with a plethora of knowledge, amazing experiences to share with my friends and family, and a new perspective on culture.
Swaziland has, first and foremost, immersed me in a situation unlike anything I have ever faced before. Whether is was communication barriers, struggles with WiFi, acclimatizing to customers and practices, or even just walking to work; the tasks I faced everyday were a new challenge. These challenges have helped me to grow as a person, and gain a more thorough understanding of what “normal” is.
I won’t miss the long walk to work, although it was a good “forced” exercise!
The second big takeaway I have from this experience is some amazing practical knowledge in the field of sport management. From day one, the office has thrown new tasks and assignments my way, and it has forced me to adapt a develop these projects quickly! They have been packed with administrative skills as well as hands-on event planning and facilitating experiences that I can transfer into my future workplaces in sport. The most recent of these events I got to be apart of was the opening of a Front ball wall at Olympafrica in Lobamba.
Amazing experience to be apart of! Fun times were had as members from the United Kingdom Front Ball Association were in attendance to help develop skills for players and open the Wall. A fun last event for me to be a part of with SOCGA. As whole the skills the I have gained in Swaziland are tremendously applicable in any sport or business setting I enter, and I can’t thank SOCGA and it’s workers enough for helping me harness those abilities.
The last great takeaway I have from this experience come in the form of amazing friendships and a new sense of culture. Through meeting new people on a daily basis, and becoming close with all of my friends in the office, I have been able to step out of my comfort zone in a big way. Each conversation had it’s struggles and language barriers were often prevalent, but nonetheless the people I met were very welcoming and kind. They made me feel comfortable in a place where I was very hesitant and unsure of my setting. Quickly the members of the SOCGA Office became my “Swazi-Family” and made settling in much easier. I want to express my sincere appreciation for the SOCGA staff for making this experience so amazing, as well as throwing me a wonderful going away party!
A fun party was the perfect way to end my 3 month tenure with SOCGA. This experience gave me friendships with amazing people that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I send so many thanks to Mfundo, Sihle, Bandili, Dalton, Cebo, Mbali, Beauty, Pretty, Carmen, Muriel, Sidney, and anyone I may be forgetting at work, for sharing amazing memories with me and welcoming me to Swaziland. I would also like to thank Derek, Janice, Hanna, and Futhi for being the most accommodating hosts and making me feel at home in Swaziland.
Everyone in Swaziland gave me a powerfully wonderful experience that will forever stay with me and impact my life. A special thank you goes to the QEScholars and SportWORKS programs for providing me with the tools to thrive in, and enjoy, this experience.
With this last blog post, I am off to Canada to go share these experiences with friends, family, and colleagues. What an amazing adventure.
Sala Kahle and Goodbye to all of my friends in Swaziland,
and Sawubona and Hello to all of my Friends in Canada!