The Ball is greeted in spectacular style at the latest school visit here in Botswana. So far, it’s been schools, schools, schools all the way in Botswana — Special Olympics seem determined to show us what they are doing on the ground here, and we are duly impressed by what’s occurring.
Suburban Gaborone seems, on the face of it, to consist of endless strip-malls selling the usual corporate South African stuff, mostly shoes, it seems. But this school seems to want to show us what makes Botswana special.
We’ve been brought to schools which integrate those with special needs and are impressed by the professionalism and dedication of the staff towards their charges. This school is no exception.
Wer are greeted by traditional singing and dancing by the children, their voices filling the air with harmony and rhythm. Special needs pupils are part of the reception, not apart from it. Our hearts are warmed and our feet are tapping.
When football is used to its full, there seem to be no limits to the barriers that it can bring down. Everyone plays their part, everyone gets involved — and everyone is important in this process.
It’s an early start after a crazy dash through the Kalahari where we got excited by our first South Africa street sign…
Our first school visit takes us to Segopotso School in Kanye, where 700 school children are eagerly awaiting The Ball. Christian is determined that every single one of them should have the chance to sign it. Time constraints don’t allow this, however, and a scrum develops as each and every child wants to sign The Ball.
We move to the football field where a Unified Football team of pupils with and without intellectual disabilities play against a team of teachers. It is a lot of fun and the game ends in a draw.