Volunteering in South Africa – Making a Real Difference

Posted by: Angie

Volunteering at the Monkey and Wildlife Rehabilitation Center project in South Africa has completely changed my outlook on life. Imagine, waking up every morning to the sounds of African birds, bugs, and of course the wild monkeys which you, and all of your volunteer friends have helped to rehabilitate and release into the wild. Sleeping in a dorm with your new friends, all from different parts of the world, was amazing. Becoming so close to people who were first strangers but become family in a matter of days was amazing.

Every morning the volunteers would wake up and do the morning chores for 2 hours before breakfast. These chores consisted of cleaning the many monkey enclosures, preparing food for the day, and bottle feeding the many different species of baby monkeys at the center. The morning chores were the most important part of the day and really made you see the difference you were making during your time at the center.

In the afternoon the volunteers would take the baboons down to the river and watch them play and socialize for about an hour. This also gave us time to socialize and become very close friends and family. The baboons would grab my legs and hands when they wanted me to carry them as we walked down to the river. This was my favorite part of the day. I bonded with them quickly; my favorite baboon was Allen and it made me feel so great when he bonded with me.

I was at the Monkey and Wildlife Rehabilitation Center project for 2 weeks and they were no doubt the best 2 weeks of my life. Every experience I had from being in an airport and flying for the first time to being on another continent and immersing myself in the culture was life changing. You can physically see the difference you are making when you’re at the center and that was what was most important to me. Every chore and job I did counted toward something the center would not have been able to do without volunteers.

The second you arrive and see the monkey’s faces you will fall in love. I didn’t believe everyone when they told me I would cry when I left but I did. GoEco made all of this possible and I believe it has changed me in a very positive way. I am currently planning my next volunteer opportunity with GoEco and cannot wait to travel again.