Volunteering in Zimbabwe – Following My Passion

Posted by: Naama

My name is Naama and last month I had the best experience of my life. Since I was young I had a dream to work with wild animals. I finished my military service and started “real life,” but after a very short time I decided to stop everything, and do something for myself. So I tried to think about the best thing that would not only benefit myself, but others too. After three weeks I found myself on a flight to Africa for the Lion Rehabilitation in Antelope Park project.

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.

Every evening there was a meeting to go through the schedule of the next day. In my first meeting I didn’t understand anything, but everyone calmed me down and told me it was normal and I had nothing to worry about. In the first three to five days you we went through the inductions. You get the opportunity to experience everything at the Park, from lions and elephants to horses and snakes. You get to do a little bit of everything, but you have to remember that its not always easy! Working with animals it’s not just hugging them and petting them. Most of the time you need to do the dirty work (ambivalently dirty…), but I learned how to make the best time of it.

During my time volunteering in South Africa I took part of the “lion project,” which meant working most of the time in the lions’ area. Every morning and afternoon we took the cubs on a walk. It was a walk of about one and two hours with the lions. We’d watch their behavior, and sometimes even have some close interaction with them.

I had the option of joining the “community project” sometimes to visit the orphanage, the street kids and the pre-school. It was so much fun to work with the local kids and see the way they live there. Also, those kids have a very hard life, so it felt great just to give them the opportunity to have a few moments of pure love.

During my month volunteering in Zimbabwe, I learn more than I learn in three years of high school. I learn about animals, about the nature, about all kinds of cultures. I met a lot of great people who will stay my friends for life.

My passion in life is animals. I wanted to follow it. I found it in Antelope Park.