International Volleyball

Howard University mixes volleyball, clinics, safaris on Botswana trip of a lifetime

Howard University mixes volleyball, clinics, safaris on Botswana trip of a lifetime

Dami Awojobi

Oluwadamilola Awojobi — Dami for short — is a rising senior at Howard University in Washington, D.C We asked Howard coach Shaun Kupferburg if one of his players would chronicle their team’s trip May 16-27 to Botswana and Zimbabwe. Luckily for us, Dami, a 6-foot-1 pin hitter from Hempstead, New York, took it on:




My team and I were blessed with an incredible opportunity to be part of an 11-day trip to the continent of Africa! We went to Botswana as sports diplomats, coaching volleyball clinics and playing in an international tournament. We also met with members of the U.S. Embassy, went on four safaris, and visited Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe! I’m honored to be able to share the details of our recent adventure.

After a year of, planning, uncertainty, fundraising, and more planning, our trip finally became a reality. 

What does one take to Africa? Well, bug spray for sure. 

On Thursday morning, May 16, we made our way to Dulles International Airport to embark on a journey we’d never forget. The plane ride was, well, let’s just say long. Really long. Did I mention long? After 20 hours of movies, crying children, sleeping, a sunset, and a sunrise, we landed in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana. 

As we walked down the plane’s stairs, the air was hot, and the sun was beaming. I even caught some heat waves on camera. Inside, after getting a Botswana stamp in our passports, we were welcomed with a surprise greeting from the Botswana senior national volleyball team. The whole interaction was being filmed on TV. Cameras caught the many hugs and smiles that filled the area. Excited squeals could be heard throughout the entire airport. Before heading out, we took a group photo in front of their symbolic ivory sculpture of a life-sized elephant. That’s when it hit me, I was going to see actual elephants in the wild!

Outside of Sir Seretse Khama International airport, there was a blue and white bus, resembling Botswana’s flag colors, already waiting for us. As we loaded our bags into trailers, we heard the loud roar of four motorcycles. On them were men in blue attire and sunglasses. We would be escorted by the police to our first hotel of the trip. On our way, with motorcycles in front and behind us, we caught our first glimpse of the city. As we weaved through traffic, our bus got wonderous stares from men driving in cars to women walking with children on their back, trying to figure out who these police were escorting. 

Were we…

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