Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My First Touchdown in ZA

I've never written a blog before, so forgive me if I don't do it right. My life is normally way too boring for anyone to be interested in reading about it. I guess that was until I signed up to travel to St.Lucia, in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal to work in an HIV orphanage, as well as do some travelling.

This blog will follow my experiences here as I travel and observe the locals, while working on a project with African Impact.I can't really remember when I decided I wanted to travel to Africa. I have always been fascinated with the continent, its history, wildlife and people.

I flew into Richard's Bay on a holiday weekend, so I haven't been able to work on the community project yet, with the children. I have, however, had some great experiences already in my first couple of days. Everyone on the project is so incredibly welcoming, and it's so interesting to see so many students from all over the world in the same place.

St. Lucia is gorgeous, and so is the project house where I'm living. There is very little crime because there is only one way in and out of town - it is otherwise surrounded by ocean and a crocodile and hippo-infested lake. It is safe to walk into town, although we have to watch out for hippos and monkeys.

We went on a game drive on Friday and saw Zebra, Wildebeast, Impala, White Rhino, Elephant, Nyala and Giraffe - not to mention many types of birds, bugs and monkeys. The most interesting though were the endangered and very aggressive Black Rhino, which very nearly charged the car. As we were driving, we discussed which African animal we would like to be, and I explained what an African Wild Dog is. Next thing we knew, twelve Wild Dogs were running alongside the car. Only three thousand are left in the wild, so it was amazing to see them all so close.I was amazed not only at the volume of animals in the park, but also their proximity to the car. It was unbelievable to have been able to reach out the window and touch so many of the animals we saw.

It's been an amazing experience so far, and I'm sure it will only get better. I'm having a great time getting to know everyone, and seeing the wildlife - I can't wait to start the community project. I'm taking care of the youngest group of children next week, which should be interesting!


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