Volunteer in Zimbabwe
At 9 am we’d have breakfast which was delicious! At 10 we’d go of an other 2 hour walk, and after we would head back to the lodge for lunch. Around 3 pm we would go back to the lions place to walk with them or where once a week we’d clean their enclosure and feed them 8kg of meat. Occasionally we’d make toys for the lions to play with. And on Saturday afternoons we would go to the orphanage to play with the local kids who were so nice and friendly!
The project staff was always so much fun to work with! Very happy, positive and funny.. every day I was excited to see them. They taught us a lot about lions, Africa, wildlife, and life in general. Their life, and my life. My whole perspective has changed. All of a sudden, you enjoy the little things, you’re happier, and complain less...As far as the lions, my feelings have been right all my life. They are absolutely amazing, affectionate and loving creatures. My love for lions only grew after this experience.
I sat there and couldn’t believe I was on my way to fulfill my biggest dream. I had a lot of mixed feelings, but most of them were related to excitement. After two flights and three hours of driving I arrived at Antelope Park. I was so excited that I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. On the first day I got to meet the local people and attempt to understand what was going on. The place was beautiful. I took a walk around and just felt the nature go into my body and fill me up with the best feelings in the world.
Sure, at the time did cleaning out lion enclosures seem glorious? No. But it was actually just as memorable for me as walking the lion cubs. When I first arrived at AP I knew that these were going to be people that I considered friends for years to come. I am generally a little shy and I was incredibly nervous but I was welcomed with open arms into this diverse group of animal loving people. They were the ones that made the dirty tasks enjoyable because we would laugh through it all together.
I was in the Mkoba clinic most days (there were many holidays during my stay so sometimes the clinic was closed). In the clinic there were different stations that I was able to choose from. Some days I was in the baby weighing station, others in the wound dressing room or even in the maternity ward if a woman was in labor.
As a volunteer working on the community project I got to experience many different activities such as: Teaching the fourth grade at Monde Primary School, playing and helping meet the needs of the children living at Rose of Charity orphange, teaching and playing with the children at a local Pre-School, gardening at the old peoples home and a rural garden, and even occasionally spending an afternoon walking with lions!
Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage gave me everything I wanted out of this experience. It’s a haven for all animals and it truly deserves to be applauded. The amount of work they do to help animals in need is extraordinary. No animal was ever turned down, no appointments had to be made, it was as simple as just dropping them off. I’ve seen anywhere from a plover to a steenbok to an owl to a snake come through the doors of Chipangali.
I dug a pond for the lions and prepared food for all the carnivores. I loved feeding the servals, especially since they were very friendly and gave plenty of kisses. I witnessed two lamb births and got to spend lots of time with the newborn lambs. I would go into the enclosure every night to kiss them goodnight.