Published: March 12th 2007February 5th 2007
This is so ya'll don't forget what I look like
I've now been in Africa for 10 weeks...HOORAY!
I am truly loving it more and more each day.
I know I haven't posted in awhile, and those who know me well, know I'm horrible about corresponding, but here's a nice long post complete with photos.
Also, this may be the last post in awhile since I'm leaving on Monday to the Baboon Sanctuary (C.A.R.E.) and there's no internet there...so I guess my attempt at travel blogging failed miserably...sorry guys.
Tons of things have happened since I posted last and I'll try to cover as much as I can.
"What would you say ya do here?" (if you know this quote, I love you) Let's discuss exactly what goes on at the Vervet Monkey Foundation :)
Usually I get up at 7 and monitor the foundation until about 11 with Vicki. We go around to all the enclosures checking health, healing injuries, demeanor, do a count of the babies, etc. From 1 I'm usually working on the Goliath enclosure. So far I'm working very closely with 5 vervets and semi closely with 11. I think the whole enclosure has about 30 vervets. There is
Can you hear my screaming?
no greater feeling than walking into an enclosure and having 5 monkeys jump all over you, chantering away.
It's set up as one huge enclosure about an acre big with a working troop inside and then there are 7 little enclosures attached - each holding 1-4 monkeys. These are the monks that are too humanized and need a bit more attention to fare on their own.
But they're also the ones with the most personality.
Also, I've joined the VMF's Monkey Patrol Group. The object is to go out into town and do a census of how many vervets are still in the wild. There's a lot of residential construction going on in a particular area, and our goal is to make sure that everything is being done up to environmental codes and standards. Plus we've gotten inolved with a local primary school. They're having problems with vervets coming onto the campus during school hours and drinking from the fountains...scaring the kids. Working with the kids is definitely a laugh, "Is it true that a monkey can eat my dog?" "Is it true if you throw a rock at a monkey he'll throw it back?"
Blyde River Canyon
Isn't it GORGE-OUS! hehe
that there's always stuff to do on the foundation like eradication, construction, monkey food preparation, all kinds of busy work.
We've got about 25 volunteers at the moment, and there's always someone to bum around with when we're not working. The food is good, and even the tents are comfortable.
Apart from working with monkeys, the rest of my time has been spent pretty spectacularly too...
In town there's this guy, Emile, who owns a backpacker's hostel and bar on this beautiful piece of land. We spend a lot of time over at his place when we need a change of scenery. He also does huge BBQs for us in traditional South African style. Along with running all that he's also a registered tour guide.
Four weeks ago group of us went with Emile to Graskop for an overnight trip. The place is GORGEOUS! The area is part of Blyde River Canyon, the third largest canyon in the world (the first being the Grand Canyon) and it's one of the only canyons that stays green year-round. Breathtaking! Waterfalls, caves, African wildlife, and BUNGEE JUMPING! Yes people, I went bungee jumping!! And there's a dvd to prove
Julian and I
Keeping safe in Africa
it :) We went first thing in the morning over a cliff of the canyon and the plummet is next to this massive waterfall. The section of the canyon is called God's Window, so ya'll can just imagine how beautiful it was.
A couple weekends ago we went out to a local tea plantation for lunch, and then went swimming at Debengeni - a very pretty local waterfall. Not as magical as Graskop but you can climb to the top and slide down the waterfall into the pool at the bottom.
Last Thursday and Friday another group of us went with Emile on a river safari. Very cool! Saw mostly elephants, hippos, and crocodiles. Also a few kudu, springbok, and buffalo. No big cats but there's still time. On the way there we got to see the widest and oldest tree in the world - the boabab. Very magical. It looks like it was planted upside-down and the myths surrounding its origin are plentiful depending on which African tribe you ask.
And last weekend we visited another beautiful waterfall, complete with cliff diving.
On Monday I'm off to C.A.R.E with the Baboons for another two months.
Missing you all!
til next time
There are more photos below