Life as a trainee Field Guide: Week 1 & 2 All systems Go!
Week 1: Who can blow a horn and what to do if things go ‘pear-shaped‘ ( First Aid )
Ulovane update: We all arrived in the afternoon on sunday 27th of september at Ulovane Camp….none of us really were into talking because the rain clouds were covering the sky. The last days had been quite cold,so we were all eager to catch some african sun. Dinner was about to be served but one job still to be done…who can blow the Kudu-horn ? To tell everyone it´s time to eat — Anna and Joep did a great job!
The first day we started lessons inside,had a nice morning walk with our lectures -admiring all the fastcinating wild flowers popping up – spring is here….and you can smell it! Even got to see a … mottled Veld Antlion. We got overflodded with information…. and fell into bed totally exhausted – but happy!
Tuesday started early with First Aid. In that three-day-course Douglas made us go trough every scenario you can think of and even the ones you don´t…we were rolling in mud, had to go searching for limbs and rubbed our knuckles on the sternum of CPR-dolls till they bleed!
It sounds like a boot camp… it wasn´t.It was a lot to process but he made it fun – now we can enter the bush – we all are well equipped to act correctly and with confidence when ‘things go pear-shaped’.
Friday started early with a morning bird walk, guided by Kyle…we were so lucky…it was the first clear morning after a few days of rain (26mm) and all the birds were having breakfast..we could spot a ‘Dark Wide Browed Scrub Robin’ which you normally only hear but not spot – what a nice morning.
Saturday morning we continued with the cars and after lunch tackled the books … because there was homework to do and so many things to learn…and remember….so the day was long…lights only got switched off late that evening.
Sunday exam-morning greeted us with breathtaking mist-formations in the valley. The vibe was good and we all did well in the exams ( we know now )! So finally some ’Me-time’…most of us went off to the beach,some others took a walk with Kyle and encountered a very big and very black scorpion!
I guess we are all happy now to have overcome the first exam..we take a deep breath and recharge for the next week to come..into the vehicles and off we go…!
Alden and Alex
“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.” – William Feather
Week 2: My Highlight of the Week: Giraffe Capture
There is something behind me, it sounds like one of these strong, unlively moving objects that follow and watch me day by day. What’s so interesting about me eating? I will just run before it comes closer. Oouch something stung me by my bum, its itchy. I have to run faster, rub it off, where is the next tree?
To my right, lets go. Hold on there is something wrong. My legs.. I can’t feel them anymore, okay I have to stop fast. Before I can react my legs get stiff like a tree branch and I fall to the ground. My head knocks against a bush above the wet grass. Nothing inside of me wants to move, my muscles are aching, I cannot control them. In the far distance I hear growls, a mixture of dull muble that is growing louder. I can’t run, I want to jump up but my body feels like a rock. 20 creatures are now beside me, their screams getting me dizzy. I try to extend my neck to see. Again I’m stopped. Something pushes me against the grass, squeezing my throat and head. Suddenly everything goes pitch black. Darkness, then silence. I cannot see and hear, just feel. Punching and squeezing on my body. I kick with my legs but the warm animals punching on my body are stuck to me. My fear is building up, I always knew these moving metal objects were my enemy. Indistinguishable, noisy. The things crawling out of them sticking to my body like ticks…
“Ropes attached, eyes and ears covered!! Move to the sides everyone, we will let him stand up and then carefully lead him to the truck. Group 1 pulls the hind legs, group 2 and 3 his upper body.” Waiting a few minutes and the giraffe is back on his feet. He wobbles and causiously takes one step after the other. We lead him towards our vehicle. It takes about 30minutes of precise pulling to safely get him inside. Without injury the door is locked behind him. Mission accomplished, giraffe ready for a new home.
The week continued with game drives and amazing sightings, finally! While on a drive with kyle we encountered an elephant herd. Dangerously close yet calm stayed the animals as they trotted past our vehicle. Our hearts went racing when a female turned around to smell us. Further into the week we had a cheetah and lion crossing our path. Overall we were all happy to finally get out of the classroom and explore Amakhala.
“The journey is the destination.” – Dan Eldon