Written by: Joshua Fernandes
It has been almost three weeks since I arrived in Gaborone. As I begin to get into the swing of things, the days seem to go by quicker. My travel here went very smoothly as all my luggage arrived in Gaborone with me. When I arrived at the airport I was welcomed by Modise and BK from the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC). From there we went straight to what would be my new home for the next couple of months.
We were met by our caretaker, Dipuo, who showed us through the house. Modise and her then sat me down and explained some of the things I would be doing while in Botswana and what past SportWORKS Officers/QE Scholars did. Modise had to leave and so Dipou took me to the Riverwalk mall to show me some of the shops that they have as well as get a local sim card. Although I was really excited we headed home after getting some food because I was exhausted from all the travel.
During my first meeting with the BNOC, Modise showed me around and introduced me to all the friendly staff. Modise then explained that we wouldn’t be getting too much into the long-term goals until Aleia, the other SportWORKS Officer/QE scholar, arrived in 2 weeks. At first, I was a bit disappointed, but he later shared that I would be working with him to put on Botswana’s inaugural National Coaches Conference. Coaches from all National Sport Organizations in Botswana would be gathering to dive into a holistic perspective of coaching. So, over the past few weeks I have been working with the staff to organize this conference. I was assigned mainly to accreditation where I would take the registration forms from over 300 registrants and create ID tags. I would also spend some time working on the certificates that the participants would receive upon completion of the conference.
A week ago Aleia arrived from Calgary, so she also attended the conference with me. It spanned over two days and was ultimately a great success. The Minister of Sport in Botswana attended and spoke as well as many other prominent figures in the Botswana sport scene. The speakers covered topics from talent identification, injury management, and conflict resolution, among other things.
This past weekend Aleia and I attempted to climb Kgale hill, a very popular hiking spot here in Gaborone. I say attempted because we went up the wrong end of the mountain and got completely lost. We were told that their would-be tons of people there on a Saturday morning and we did not see a single person, so we had a good idea that we were doing something wrong. We have made some friends with a diverse group of people who play ultimate frisbee every Monday and Thursday and they offered to take us up the hill the right way.
From the delicious food to the delightful people, Gaborone has been great to me so far. With my time here just starting, I look forward to the amazing journey that I am about to experience!