Programs that Welcome Teens with Parental Consent
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.
At the orphanage we could do many things: construction, painting, building, playing with the children in the afternoon, and teaching English to Thai people. I taught English and it was the best feeling ever. It was extremely rewarding and my students were very thankful. They were incredibly sweet and very eager to learn. I felt a really strong connection to them and looked forward each day to seeing them again. It may sound as a cliché but I gained so much more than I gave. Volunteering at the orphanage gave me insight into the culture in a way I could have never gotten as a tourist. It really is waging peace through justice worldwide.
And of course, my favorite project, teaching English. You don’t need any experience at all because it is very basic stuff – such as going through the alphabet, counting, pointing at objects and saying the words in English. They mostly just appreciate you being there. Spending time with them was amazing and something which I will never forget and always cherish!
I really enjoyed my time at the park as I was able to interact with so many different animals, and also felt like I was contributing to the many initiatives that they have going on. I also liked being a bit further away from Sydney, exploring different parts of the country, that were a little less touristy.
The work at the panda base wasn’t very hard, but it was extremely rewarding. I feel so grateful to have had this once in a lifetime experience, getting up close and personal with the pandas, learning their different personalities, and helping with their conservation. We were also part of an amazing group of volunteers, united by a love of pandas. We all got on really well and generally just had a great time together, both on and off the panda base. I will miss those crazies all most as much as I will miss my adorable new panda friends!
We toured picturesque Port Stephens and exciting, metropolitan Sydney, enjoyed delicious Australian and international cuisine, met a ton of new friends, and got into the rhythm of Australian life. Invigorated by the week-long holiday, my two project-mates and I flew down to Melbourne to start working with wildlife!
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.
If this is not the most rewarding feeling in your life and also the reason to pack your backpack now and move into the Amazon to have the TIME OF YOUR LIFE, I don’t know what is. Okay okay…being able to take care of a baby sloth and other incredibly cute animals you could die for is a great bonus and definitely worth visiting the center too...
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