When I was a little girl, I dreamed of many things; all the normal girl fantasies about growing up and my future but I had more and I wanted more. They were to make a difference and to be part of something that could change the world. I was taught I could do anything and be anyone! However learning to have the courage to step out and take those dreams is a completely different ball game and takes a special kind of courage.
2015 gave me the courage to push myself for more and to actually live my life not sit by and be a spectator. This lead me to African Impact website and I booked my volunteer trip. I was off to Victoria Falls Zimbabwe as a research volunteer. My exceptions of my trip fell dismally short because nothing could have ever prepared me for the trip that changed my life.
I arrived bright eyed and very excited to Victoria Falls airport on the 7th December 2015 and couldn’t wait to start. I was one of three volunteers arriving that day. Stacy from Seattle in the Sates and Oliver from Copenhagen, Denmark. I was the lucky one who had only traveled a few hours, they on the other hand had almost flown for two days.
We were met by Fiona at the airport and brought back to ‘Outpost’ the Volunteer house just outside the city of Victoria Falls. Our induction was given that afternoon and I was more than ready to start. I was the only research volunteer in the program. The others were part of the Lion rehab program and the community program. My project overlapped with theirs in areas but mostly it was just me and the research team lead by Bob. The days were packed from Hyena monitoring, game counting, Community kraal protection, occupancy survey ( Tracking the 5 large predictors; Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Hyena and Wild Dog) and entomology research.
All these research projects were developed in conjunction with ALERT, the Lion Rehabilitation and conservationLions in Africa have been declining quickly so much so that their numbers are so dangerously low something has to be done to help them, hence the Rehab program was started. But I will explain that in detail in another blog.
These projects from going into the communities to being in the fields and walking with lions has woken up something inside of me that I never knew was there, but had always been searching for. It completed me and made me whole, it put my mind and soul at peace. The part of me I have always been searching for finally clicked into place and I finally had the peace I have been looking for.