Tuesday, 27 May 2008

John's great adventure: Chapter 7

What a wonderful final day. Very emotional for me and I think for the course members. We started with the final teacher presentations and they all did very well. As I’ve said before to present in a language which isn’t your preferred one is astonishing to me. We followed up with some more TD work on the revoke, plus I sneaked in some Opening Leads out of turn to see who had learnt it. And of course they had. You set homework – they do it.

I was a bit surprised when I had to go back to the radio studio. Surely someone else could pick up the CD of yesterday’s interview. But, no, they wanted me to record some greetings which they will turn into radio jingles – the start of a promising new career perhaps:

“Hi, this is John Pain from the English Bridge Union in Aylesbury, England. You’re tuned to Chillieboy on Yarona FM. Live the music.”

I had to do three slightly different ones, so when you are next in Gaborone listen out for my radio jingle!

I got back in time for lunch and was shown the article in the local paper.

After lunch we played some more bridge and then we had the finale to the week. Each course member, well they are friends by now, stood up and said their piece. I can become quite emotional these days and they said such wonderful things, right from the heart that I had a bit of difficulty holding back the odd tear. I didn’t realise how much it meant to each and every one.

We take so much for granted at home but the material I brought has really meant so much. Finally we had the final speeches and presentation of the certificates by a very high ranking Botswana National Sports Council Committee Member. The friends were certainly in awe of her and having their photo taken with her seemed to be a great honour.

I was overwhelmed with gifts which I hope I can get home without damaging. After final photos and goodbyes I was whisked back to my digs with just enough to change before a wonderful evening meal at the best restaurant in town.

I’m being picked up at 7.20 for a short safari round the local Mokolodi game reserve, before going to the airport and home.

Had the tour of the game park – saw lots of different types of antelopes, giraffes, ostrich and their two tame cheetahs. After a late breakfast in the local Wimpy and a bit of shopping I was taken to the airport for the long journey home. I got back to Heathrow at 7am on Sunday to torrential rain, which didn’t stop until Tuesday just in time to go back to the office.

I discovered that their currency – the pula –literally means "rain" in Setswana, because rain is very scarce in Botswana - home to much of the Kalahari Desert - and therefore valuable.

I hope my visit will make a difference to these lovely people. I had a wonderful time.

I would like to thank those in Botswana who invited me – Kaeleboga Tangane who made that initial email request, to the Botswana National Sports Council who paid for most of it and also to Barry Capal and the Board at the EBU who had the foresight to say I could go.

Thanks for reading.

Further information on my travels can be found


  1. peter hasenson27 May 2008 at 15:11

    delighted it went so well; welcome back to the rain! where to next? best wishes, peter

  2. Well done John. An excellent and well written summary of your trip to Botswana. What a fascinating week!

  3. I have SO enjoyed reading of your adventures in Botswana - a memorable trip indeed. Well done.

  4. congratulations guys, hope you grasped the concepts, wish i was with you...and BBF, keep it up, thats what we need for the development of bridge down there.

  5. Congratulations to my fellow colleagues back in Botswana, hope you guys grasped the concepts that the gentleman brought in, i didn't know that there was something going on down there..
    ups to BBF(Botswana Bridge Fedration), keep it up guys, thats what we need to improve/develop our game.


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