Published: October 13th 2009
October 13th 2009
Where we stayed before we got onto a bus to Tzaneen.
I am sitting here in the volunteer cottage ( a small building with a kitchen, running water, electricity, and of course a bar!) Trying to think about how to sum up my first week in Africa. It is amazing. I feel like the world stops here. Time does not seem to pass. It has been one of the most challenging yet most rewarding things I have ever done in my life.
The trip here was over in the blink of an eye. (I think that it helped that I got to the airport early and scored and amazing bulk head seat) It is hard to grasp the concept that I am pretty much half way across the world. On my way from the airport to the backpackers lodge I kept seeing streets that reminded me of home. I still have not had a moment of clarity for how far I am from home.
The foundation has to be one of the most incredible places in the world. There are over 400 monkeys and it takes every single volunteer to keep it going. It is one of the most finely tune machines of people working together that I have ever seen. The
foundation is huge! Bigger then I even imagined. It has to be on something like 30 acres. Trust me you walk every single inch of it as well. I am still getting lost and I am sure that I still will for awhile. It has taaken me a week to even understand what is going on. Sometimes I have felt like Oh Gosh what have I got myself in (working in some days over 100 degrees out) but the contact you do have with the monkeys and you begin to realize that without you the monkeys would not survive at the foundation. Things seem to gain a bit more perspective about why you are there and how important the work is.
My third night out we went to a pub called the half human. It is an open air pub with a fire pit, pool table, and plenty of trouble to be caused. I learned the lesson early that work the next morning is no more easier once you have been out the night before. Any ways its good for crazy stories and a good laugh WHEN you dont have to work the next morning.
My cabin has no running
We rode in the back of a truck for a while to get from Tzaneen to the VMF.
water and no electricity but somehow it manages to feel like a safe haven and my home. Walking from the volunteer cottage to the cabing in the dark is a whole other deal. (scary) It is no bigger then a medium sized tool shed and has one small window. I love it. The bathrooms are self decomposting and the showers are open air. The volunteer cottage is about a half mile walk every morning up hill. (Talking about morning exersize!!!)
I have specialized in an area in the foundation called quarantine. It is where all the monkeys are kept that are suspected to have TB. It is an incredible place to work in the foundation. You get to know specific monkeys and learn there personalities. I am beginning to learn the social rules of the monkeys. (More on that later)
Anyways work starts at 7 am and I am tired!!! I hope I have given you all a small look into some of my daily life. I will have to go into detail about specifics of the foundation and some of my jobs. Please keep reading and I want to thank all of you who have given me tons of
Jen in the back of a truck!
support and made it possible for me to be here.
There are more photos below