We arrived at the Victoria Falls International Airport on November 21st. Big, blue, block letters revealed that we had arrived in Zimbabwe. Our mother had repeatedly informed us that we would be spending two weeks volunteering in Zambia. We walked through the terminal confused but equally excited.
Quickly, we were introduced to the "Zim" way of life. We met the 4 lion cubs who amazed us with their wildly beautiful appearance and playful, childlike spirit. We walked the lions to expose them to the bush to allow their natural instincts to unfold. Later on, we created behavior enrichment toys out of natural materials that can be found in the bush. The toy we created was a piece of drift wood with straw on it that we placed in the water. Lekker and Liuwa were so frightened by the toy that they hissed and ran from it. In the end, Liuwa faced her fears and grabbed the piece of driftwood, concluded her inspection, and deemed it unworthy of her time.
Later in the week, we were exposed to the research and conversation portion of African Impact. We studied entomology by driving into the bush and recovering the jars placed in the ground to capture bugs. Dung beetles and ants were a hot commodity. On our drive we were mock charged by a bull elephant and saw 7 African Wild Dogs. It was super cool to be thrown right into the "bush" and see so much at once.
The overall highlight, so far, has probably been meeting the people here. The lion staff have been so fun to work with thus far. They talk about the lions as if they're their own children and are so visibly invested in each lion's wellbeing and personality. The conservation team, as well, has already taught us so much about the different parts of the ecosystem and how they work together. We've loved our time here so far and are very excited for the week to come!
Coco and Elena are in the middle of their two week stay on our Lion Walk & Lion Conseration Project, have a look at it here.