I’m volunteering in Africa to bring awareness to rhino poaching. Because: out of sight, out of mind. I’m guilty of it too. And with everything going on today from elections to terrorism to illegal immigration (you get my point), it’s hard to keep up with everything.
As an animal lover, I am committed to bringing attention to the illegal rhino horn trade, dwindling rhino numbers and the great work Care For Wild Africa is doing to help. Rescue, care and rehabilitation are the passions driving Care for Wild Africa, a passion we both share.
So far I’ve learned that rhino horn is worth more than diamonds and gold. I’ve also learned that rhino horn makes its way across the world, particularly to Asia for medicinal purposes but is becoming more commonly used as a status symbol to display success and wealth. Makes me sick!
Where I’m going
To everyone who has asked me so far, I just smile and say I can’t pronounce it but I know it starts with ‘M’. It’s called Mpumalanga and it’s in South Africa, bordering Swaziland and Mozambique. I actually looked at the map today when my Travel Clinic doctor asked me where I was going specifically, so she could recommend the right vaccinations. The project is called Care for Wild Africa, previously Khulula if you’ve been following them as long as I have. The UK company that helps coordinate your travel plans is called the African Conservation Experience.
When I’m going
January 2017 for 3 weeks. I don’t think I’ll be complaining about no hot water with a weather forecast of around 30 degrees or more. The decision behind going in January was purely because after quitting my job to travel around Vietnam and Cambodia, I figured it made sense to go to South Africa before looking for work again.
How did I find out about it?
When I was volunteering at the RSPCA back in Australia, I met a girl who was telling me about the Khulula project and her plans to volunteer there. The pictures she showed me have stayed with me ever since, including sleeping next to young orphaned rhinos to keep them company. I’ve now known about Care for Wild Africa for 6 years and have followed their story since that day. Care for Wild Africa became more well known last year in 2015 when Prince Harry visited to volunteer his time, muscles and hopefully some money.
Who am I going with?
I’m travelling solo from London but I’m sure I’ll be amongst friends when I’m picked up at the airport. Care for Wild generally has around 7 volunteers at a time depending on the time of year, and can have up to around 15 volunteers. I’m praying for a volunteer my age or older who enjoys sleep so I don’t have to wear earplugs every night in the room I will be sharing with 3 others.
What will I be doing?
Well! I’m told that if I’m not fit, I will be by the time I leave. Imagine walking up and down a hill, carrying milk to the rhinos. I’ve been told to expect night shift, emergency care situations and lots of hard but rewarding care work for the rhinos. Whilst you don’t need to be studying animal care or veterinary science, some volunteers at Care for Wild Africa are there for work experience in relation to their studies. Maybe I’ll learn once and for all if I could ever be a Vet. There’s other wildlife there too and I’m looking forward to meeting each and every one of them!
How is it funded?
From direct donations, courses about animal care and volunteers like me. The cost to volunteer for 3 weeks is around £2500. This includes accommodation, meals and a donation to the project.
I hope I’ve convinced you to donate to help make a contribution more than I could ever do alone!