By: Ashley Kosa
It has been a week since I have landed back in Canada and I can’t believe my time in Botswana has come to an end. I have had such an incredible time during this experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
The final month was the busiest yet for work as Luke and I finished the Botswana Long-Term Athletic Development (BLTAD) framework for the sport of tennis. This document will help the future QES inters to create an implementation plan and help bring the sport of Tennis to schools and communities throughout Botswana. Along with finishing up this document, Luke and I got to join our fellow BNOC colleagues for the launching of the Olympic values solidarity movement. We attended two launching ceremonies at local schools. Those days were filled with tons of sporting activities for the children all while encompassing the main Olympic values. It was a great way for the children to get some physical activity and end their schooling before the Christmas holidays began!
Aside from work, the last month of the QESI internship was filled with lots of final activities and travelling for Luke and I. We began with a final trip to Cape Town, South Africa where we met up with the other QESI intern, Kaitlyn who was is in Swaziland for her internship. We spent a fantastic four days together exploring the city and going shark cage diving! I was so grateful to meet up with Kaitlyn and share stories about our experiences in Africa together.
The next weekend Luke and I travelled to the northern parts of Botswana to see the wildlife. We decided to save money and opted to take the bus…this resulted in us sitting on a very full bus for 13 hours! We were very happy to arrive at the final destination. To begin we crossed the border into Zimbabwe to visit Victoria Falls for a day. Once there, Luke and I took a helicopter tour to see the falls and to end the day we went on a sunset cruise.
The next morning, we were picked up bright and early to head back to Botswana and begin our 3-day 2-night safari in Chobe National Park. We began and ended the safair with a boat tour to spot some animals in the Chobe River. From there we went to the national park to do some game drives and go to the camp we would be staying at during the trip. It was an amazing trip filled with tons of animal sightings including elephants, giraffes, lions, wild dogs, and many more!
The week after, the BNOC had their annual Christmas party. It was a great way to end the last day of work for everyone in the office. The party was Hawaiian themed and there was lots of Karaoke sung by everyone in attendance. During that weekend, Luke and I met up with some friends to continue the festivities and watch an early morning sunrise by the local dam. It was truly beautiful and I already miss the amazing African sunrises.
Afterwards, the one truck we drove by the water ended up getting VERY stuck! We spent hours trying to get it out of the mud but had no luck. Finally, we made the decision to send Luke and another friend in search of help with a smaller vehicle that was not stuck in 3 feet of mud. During that time spent waiting we decided to pass the time by swimming in the dam.
Hours later, two trucks arrived and we tried pulling the stuck vehicle out with them. Much to our trying, we still could not get the initial truck out of that mud! At 1:30 that afternoon, we made the decision to get some needed sleep and leave the truck there.
The following day was the yacht club’s annual Christmas lunch. I went with a friend and then Luke ended up joining us as his flight was delayed. It was a great day spent with some good friends. We learned later on from our one friend Chris, that he managed to get his truck unstuck! It only took 3 vehicles and a massive truck to get it out. We all breathed a sigh of relief!! A couple hours later we headed to the airport to drop off Luke as he was finished with his time in Botswana.
That following week was my last in Gaborone. I kept busy seeing friends, going to the local river, and kayaking on the dam. It was a fantastic last week spent with people that I will continue to keep in contact with and visit soon again!
I want to say a massive thank you to Brock University, Commonwealth Games Canada, and to the Botswana National Olympic Committee for allowing me to participate in this internship opportunity. I cannot thank the wonderful coworkers at the BNOC for welcoming Luke and I with open arms. I have grown so much as a person and will take these lessons learned and apply them throughout my life. Through this experience I have gained some crucial industry knowledge and made some great friends and memories along the way.
Thank you Botswana, you will be missed.
Until next time,