Guest Blog: “Next stop – Lesotho!”
Welcome on board Charley and Olivia – our 2019/2020 interns!
Charley and Olivia were lucky enough to visit Lesotho this summer to represent Commonwealth Games Wales as part of their internship with us. Both girls are familiar with Team Wales’ set up, having joined us on a 10-week placement earlier this year. They loved it so much they applied to become our interns for a full year!
Read the girls’ journey below on their trip to beautiful Lesotho;
“Visiting Africa was a dream for both of us, and we never imagined we’d be fortunate to ever visit -especially as part of our internship with Commonwealth Games Wales!
We were off to Lesotho for an exciting week ahead; meeting new people, learning about the Commonwealth, and presenting our work plans to each other for our year ahead.
Packing for our trip had proved a bit difficult. Travelling in August, all we could imagine was the hot climate, bright sunshine and high temperatures. However, we didn’t realise August was wintertime in Africa! We took some spare layers, and prepared for some chilly evenings ahead (but we did make sure we packed our shorts, too!).
Starting in Cardiff, we were preparing for a long trip ahead.
We travelled to Heathrow, on to Johannesburg, and then on to Lesotho.
At Heathrow, we got to meet up with Team England’s intern, Tim. We were all on the same flight, so it was good to spend some extra time with someone who we would be working with closely over the next year.
11 hours later, we made it to Jo’burg, and then took a short flight to Lesotho.
When we boarded our connection flight to Lesotho, we knew we would be travelling on a small plane -however, we didn’t anticipate just how small it was going to be! We felt like celebrities boarding a private jet!
After a long day and night spent travelling, we were so relieved to land in Lesotho airport – the smallest airport we’d ever seen! The runway was empty except for the plane we had arrived on, and the airport itself had just one room, where passport control, immigration, luggage collection and customs were all found. It was an excellent contrast to the long queues we usually endure at any UK airport!
We were greeted by Baleseng, the midterm intern from Lesotho, who helped us into the minibus and introduced us to Ginoca; interning from Mozambique.
A quick power-nap later, we went for dinner with our team of interns. Tim, Ginoca and both of us were introduced to Sera, from Uganda and Denise from Zambia, who would be in our intern-team for the week. We spent the evening eating, laughing and getting to know each other before our first day officially began.
Our first day of introductory workshops were amazing. We learnt so much about the Commonwealth Games Federation and made a strategic work plan for the year ahead. As we’d be working alongside one another for the rest of the year, it was great we could sit down together in person, plan our strategy and ensure we were all confident in what we were doing before we parted ways at the end of the week.
That evening, we met with the same interns that Meg had met on her internship in Botswana [link to Meg’s blog], who were now six-months into their placement. We enjoyed dinner together, whilst finding out more about their placement and discovering what we had to come over the next 12 months!
We enjoyed another full day of workshops -learning about the Commonwealth Games, planning our strategy for the year ahead, and continuing to build relationships with one another.
We were shortly returning to the UK, so we enjoyed yet another delicious dinner with each other, before heading back to our hotel to pack up our clothes and prepare our luggage.
We decided we couldn’t leave Lesotho without seeing what it had to offer, so we got up extra early to do a quick tour before we needed to head to the airport.
We met Tsepe, our guide from ‘Tsepe Tours’, who showed us the best bits of Lesotho -including the mountain walk around Moshoeshoe’s Village and a visit to Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village. It was great to learn so much about the history and culture of Maseru; the capital of Lesotho. Honestly, what an experience to be able to explore this part of the world.
The most surreal moment of the trip was passing a local school whilst driving around Lesotho. We noticed writing on the side of the school that said, “Lumela, Croeso, Welcome.” We couldn’t believe our eyes we had travelled all this way and found the Welsh language! We got out of the car to take a photo of the building, when the Headmistress greeted us with the loveliest welcome. She invited us inside to show us a book her class had which was all about Wales and our patron saint; Saint David. It was truly special to experience such a moment, and one we’ll always remember.
After such an amazing morning, it was time to make our way home – but what a perfect ending we had to our trip.
We said goodbye to Lesotho and boarded the plane, with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the opportunities given to us over the past few days.
We’ll be returning to Africa in February as part of our midterm workshop -and we really cannot wait! Next time we’ll be exploring Mozambique, and we’re really excited to share with you our journey to another beautiful part of Africa.
Charley and Olivia."
If you're looking for an internship opportunity and want to join Team Wales, please contact Cathy Williams on firstname.lastname@example.org