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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Catch up with Bhubesi Pride team members ahead of 2014 mission

After two terrific projects, Bhubesi Pride – which registered as a UK charity in August last year – is in the final stages of preparation for its third rugby development expedition through Africa. We caught up with them in Murrayfield, Scotland. 

The Murrayfield visit is part of a training regimen that includes intensive coach education, first aid and driver training. It's also another way for the new team to get to know one another.

Bhubesi Pride's commitment to delivering projects has resulted in this being the third mission for the young charity. Once again, an excellent and diverse team of coaches has been selected.

With the process of making people aware of the unique opportunity to be part of their driving expedition through ten countries, two members of Bhubesi Pride's 2014 team came to know of the charity thanks to the posts and videos we promoted on Rugbydump last year.

Oliver Munns and Ed Taylor spoke to us as each prepared for their special journeys.

Cambridge graduate Munns has been playing rugby almost all his life and will be part of the coaching team for the full five months. His journey will take him and his fellow comrades from Edinburgh on 5th February out to Ethiopia and Kenya by air.

In Nairobi this 'Pride' of rugby coaching adventurers joins up with their Land Rover vehicles, prepped for a further 15,000 km mission through Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and finishing in South Africa on 3 July.

Munns, 22, told Rugbydump, "I first heard about Bhubesi Pride's work on Rugbydump, watching the videos and following the 2013 team. I've personally got so much out of playing sport, especially rugby, over the years. Friends, memories, confidence in myself, and belief in hard work.

"However the opportunities I've enjoyed aren't always available to those who maybe need them most. Bhubesi Pride is giving these opportunities to people with little else. I want to be a part of that," he said.

Munns and his volunteer colleagues will lead coaching sessions in 12 African locations, a week at a time, over the course of a 157-day action-packed itinerary.

He'll coach up to 5 hours per day and prepare boys and girls for huge tournament days at the end of each week, supported by global sponsors and attended by journalists, national rugby unions, government officials and local club players.

"Rugby is such a fun game to play. I'm looking forward to making friends with the rest of the team and driving through eastern and southern Africa. How many people can say they've done that?!

"And of course unpacking my FLYA teamwear kit when we meet in a few weeks will be great; like an international team on stash day!

"Experiencing the different cultures of the places we visit will be amazing. Meeting different people, seeing the variety of landscapes and cultures. The individuals we meet will undoubtedly be living completely different lives to what I'm used to.

"I can't wait to get the chance to connect with people on that level."

Rugby coaching enthusiast Taylor, 23 – also based in London – is no stranger to maximising the power of rugby with young people. He runs initiatives with Harlequins, Saracens and the RFU. He'll be joining Munns and Bhubesi Pride's team in Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania for the shorter period of one month – an option you can take with the charity if five months seems a bit hectic!

Taylor told us, "Seeing Bhubesi Pride on Rugbydump, I was inspired by watching rugby being played in some of the remotest parts of the world and witnessing the good that it can bring to all who are involved. I decided to submit my application so I too could hopefully help pass on all the good messages our sport promotes.

"I am also looking to gain loads of coaching experience to take back to my work in England, learning about the wider process of how the whole project is put together. This is the type work I would like to do in the future. I am very excited about immersing myself in new cultures, learning how communities live in the countries I’m visiting and how sport affects their lives."

In a final thought for RD readers, Munns offered this sentiment: "Don't just watch the videos, live the game. Get down to your local club and support, play, get a qualification and coach. Or be a legend and apply for Bhubesi Pride’s next expedition in 2015!"

Looking ahead to the stories we’ll hear from these guys over the next six months, Taylor adds, "Watch the videos Rugbydump puts up and see all the positive difference your favourite sport can do for everyone who participates."

Read more about Munns and Taylor on their individual profile pages on Bhubesi Pride’s website and, as the guys said, why not apply for 2015. The charity is accepting applications now. Catch up with Bhubesi Pride's 2013 project work videos Munns and Taylor are referring to here.

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