Volunteer in Africa
The first day of the plain count I remember looking over the list of the 30 or so wild animals. I thought, “Yea right, like we are really going to see all these? I doubt it!” Then I thought, “How am I supposed to count something I have never heard of before in my entire life?” Each creature was pointed out and explained in vivid detail to us. I had seen more beautiful creatures on that day than I had ever seen in any zoo anywhere. And I have been to quite a lot of zoos in my life. I was shocked, excited and ready for more.
It was interesting to be a volunteer in Madagascar. I think this experience was full of change and pleasure. My project was Wildlife Research and Conservation and when I arrived at the camp, everyone said hello to me with big smile and enthusiasm. It made me feel like home; like we were family.
The intense learning process began the very first day we arrived, teaching us physiology, behavior and survey methodology of different sea organisms, as well as different aspects of the ocean. At the same time, what we learned we practiced in the ocean through surveys, collecting valuable data for the Seychelles National Park Association (SNPA) to monitor the coral reefs in the country.
I arrived to Curieuse Island in Seychelles and met my group for the next month- 12 amazing people from the US, UK and Germany. When we arrived I felt like I had found paradise, such a beautiful and special place! Every morning it was a pleasure to wake up at 6:30 a.m. and start the day with our awesome surveys - with the sea turtles or with the lemon sharks, the coco de mer trees or go to run in the mud at the mangroves!
Nothing will put a smile on your face like when you see baby turtles. We were so fortunate that we got to see hatchlings during our last week. It was such a wonderful way to end our time on Curieuse. Seeing the little guys make their way down the beach to the sea amazes me every time. They are so small and surprisingly fast for such tiny creatures. I’m sure the “Aaaawwwww”s of all the volunteers were most likely heard on the other side of the island.