A memorable start helps Zambia’s coaching week stand out
Johanna Waide, Kabwe
To make the most of the 1,000 km journey from Lilongwe, Malawi, to Kabwe, Zambia, the Pride takes a route via South Luangwa National Park, where there is time off to camp and enjoy guided game drives.
At the top of the wishlist of wildlife to spot were African wild dogs and leopards. The Pride had luck on their side, seeing both unique animals before leaving the park, making it an unforgettable stay.
New coaches Alexa, from Canada, and Jo, from England, joined the team in Lusaka, before everyone headed to Kabwe where the charity would be working for the second year running after a successful coaching week here in 2016.
RiA Project Manager Rory McGee, the team from G4S Zambia – led by Pauline Chilumba, Corporate Affairs Officer – and local rugby ambassador, Tom Chaloba, worked closely to deliver a program that involved a range of schools and community centres. This included Rosehill, Mildah and Mine Primary Schools, junior teams from the local Die Hard Rugby Club, and two orphanages, Sables Nua and Children of Promise.
The schedule was split into morning and afternoon sessions, which meant Pride members could act as assistant coaches for each other in their spare time, in addition to taking the lead with their assigned school or centre. Alexa said this made her first week with the Pride an eye-opening experience.
“I coached at Rosehill Primary, a private school, as well as with ten children from the Children of Promise orphanage. The children from these groups were very different and I learned a lot from both.
The children at Rosehill had all played before so we were straight into touch games and drills which focussed on improving their skills. This is in contrast to The Children of Promise group, where I was introducing rugby for the first time.
I’d never worked with children from an orphanage before. It was great to spend time with their matron, Ruth, who said they were ‘all her children’. It was really rewarding to see how much they learned, and the way they improved, over the course of the coaching week.”
RiA 2017 was Pauline’s fourth year as G4S Country Program Leader for BPF’s Zambia expedition leg. As always, Pauline threw herself into a busy week, spending it on the ground in Kabwe – a change of pace to her usual life in Lusaka.
Pauline attended every coaching session and one of the things that stood out for her was watching other G4S employees and Pride members not only coach the children, but spend time between sessions, getting to know them and having fun. Pauline shared:
“At the end of one of the life-skills sessions at Mine Primary, some of the children came up just to tell me how much they like the Bhubesi Pride coaches. The children said – ‘We love the coaches! They really care about us and ask us all about our lives’. Over the last four years we’ve had so many great Bhubesi Pride Foundation volunteers come to Zambia and we work together so well to get as much as we can out of the program.”
Pride members Sebastian, Sofia, Iain and Rory also jumped at the chance to coach senior players from the local Green Eagles Rugby Club. This started with a friendly game of touch at the club’s grounds – where all Pride members played the weekend before coaching officially began – followed by three intensive sessions throughout the week. This included a session away from the pitch, where Sebastian put into practice his Personal Training qualifications and took twenty of the players to the gym.