Pride eyes: Namibia
- Words: James Haydn Lane
- Images: Matea Ilieva
- Edited by: Michael Hendricks
The coaching program in Namibia has been a fantastic success. As soon as the school orientation was underway, we all got a real sense of appreciation and joy from the children and teachers alike.
Along with that optimism, we ran into our fair share of challenges. All five schools in Walvis Bay came with their unique circumstances, but as ever, we rallied around the opportunity, and got the sessions organised and completed to the same high standards we’ve set throughout our project work this year.
Coaching at the primary schools was a total joy.
The children are incredible. Their enthusiasm and energy means that they take to rugby very quickly. With some having played in previous charity programs, and some taking on the sport for the first time, we were very pleased with their progress. The Pride values were at the forefront of our coaching, and the children really took well to the ideas we put forward. All in all, the schools were very accommodating, bringing out hot drinks for the chilly Namibian mornings, and the Walvis Bay coaching week will be fondly remembered by all involved.
“Rugby makes me feel like I’m part of a team; that’s what I love most about it.”
Eric, student at Flamingo Primary School
The coaching week was topped off by brilliant tournament. BPF tournament directors, Mac and Jay proved to be cool under pressure and, with the awesome help of all of the Pride members, managed to pull off another successful BPF tournament. All the children deservedly received medals. This emphasised that the children all won by achieving marked improvement across the board and, most importantly, enjoying themselves all week.
“The Bhubesi Pride project opens doors for these kids. It helps them build towards a better future and keeps children off the streets. Rugby gives the kids something positive to invest their time in.”
Donna van den Heever, G4S Namibia
Along with the coaching in the five primary schools, we visited JJ’s Care Centre. This centre caters for both special needs and mainstream children, often integrating the classes. It was great to see the wonderful education the children receive due to the hard work of the staff at the school. We spoke about what the Pride does and the values we uphold, so hopefully the children will be keen to get involved in future BPF projects. All in all, another great experience.
G4S Namibia was invaluable in organising the schools, getting the children to tournament day and providing us with a fantastic braai after tournament day. We really appreciate all of the continued support and enthusiasm from G4S Namibia; we simply couldn’t do what we do without them.
Walvis Bay coaching program in numbers
- Number of participating schools/communities: 5 (Immanuel Ruiters, Kuiseb, Flamingo, Nara, Narraville)
- Number of children coached: 270
- Boys / girl ratio: 65 / 35
- Percentage of children participating in 3 or more sessions: 99%
On the way to Swakopmund, we enjoyed some incredible sightseeing. Crossing the Kalahari, we got some once in a lifetime opportunities, like close encounters with a tame wildebeest and a bushman tour at Thakadu Bush Camp, a Bear Grylls-esque root around the bush.
Windhoek proved to be a real treat for us. The National Museum was fascinating. Learning about the varied history of Namibia was brilliant in helping to truly understand the country we were staying in. Windhoek was topped off by an incredible game meat dinner. Springbok, zebra, kudu and oryx were all on the menu, and though we’ve ‘raised our game’ on the self-catering front, a meal in a nice restaurant was a big treat for us.
In Swakopmund, we enjoyed the activities on offer. The desert was right on our doorstep, and we made the most of it. From skydiving to sandboarding, quad biking to surfing, we all had an incredible first few adrenaline-fuelled days on the coast. The skydive was a particular highlight. Free falling with the sea and sand both in view from on high made the jump all the more memorable. Racing down the dunes on a snowboard was another winner, even though only one of us successfully learned how to turn. Heading up Dune 7, hard work that it was, was worth every exhausting step for the amazing view.
As for downtime, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the discovery of a certain cafe in town, with the best cinnamon rolls and cheesecake you’re likely to find anywhere. We’re sure they’ll be expecting a record for sales in May and June.
“Stunning setting for a great coaching week. The skydive was one of the most thrilling experiences of my life and doing it over the Namibian desert made it even better. An amazing two weeks!”
Finlay Wilson, Bhubesi Pride Foundation coach
Namibia has been a fantastic, varied experience, made so by wonderful children at the primary schools. While I’m heading home, I leave knowing the Pride is well-prepared to handle the next leg of what has been an incredible journey for all of us.