Teens and High School Students
African 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.
Our organized activities were a great way to relax and have fun with everyone in the program but my favorite memories were at the school, playing with the kids at the end of each day, or handing out ice cream after lunch...I cannot wait to not only return for more volunteering in Thailand, but to explore other opportunities provided by GoEco.
The second week I moved down south to a new house and to work with the turtles. This was an amazing experience, it was very hands-on and I got to spend as much time with the turtles as I wanted. We cleaned them, fed them and generally worked with them on the beach trying to get them back to full health. They are such amazing animals and the work they do at at this project is fantastic. All the volunteers really care for each individual turtle and no one is afraid about getting dirty and being involved.
Friday’s are a bit different because that’s test day, the children LOVE this though, as they get to see what they’ve learnt through the week and after an hour or so of tests are free to play. One Friday it was so hot we all ran through a fence at the back of the school and jumped in to a huge pond to cool off. All the kids who could swim were jumping in with us and the ones who couldn’t we were hugging and splashing.
We were lucky and had a multitude of striped dolphin pod sightings, bottlenose sightings, and we had four sperm whale sightings. We even documented a new sperm whale, who swam very close to the boat and we were able to get amazing footage of him! When there are sightings you videotape on the stern with the gopro camera, take pictures using high resolution cameras, and would have the acoustic equipment on to record/locate the communication of the dolphins or whales.
It was such a rewarding project to be involved in, as at the end of each day, I could see the nests that I had protected, and know that I had done my part towards saving the turtles, and saving the planet. One of the staff members who was supervising us said, “the best feeling on earth is saving a life that can never repay you”. Helping to save those turtles made me see the truth behind these words.
Everything is really well organized and straightforward. There are three shifts. Two at night and one in the morning and obviously, you will never get more than one shift per day. The night shifts involve walking along the beach looking for turtles and waiting for them to nest. If they nest you get to watch them lay eggs and help measure and tag them. It’s honestly an amazing experience because it’s something so different and unique. The morning patrols consist of writing down all the turtle tracks and finding nests to help secure them.
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