Greetings from Daktari!!
We have 3 new additions to Daktari since our last update....
Firstly we have May, a female Caracal. She's a big hit with our two male Caracals and teases them through the fence that seperates them!
We were called out to rescue Gerri Junior, a Juvenile Spotted Eagle owl who had crash landed and appeared to have broken her wing. After a trip to the vets we discovered that while it luckily wasn't broken, the ligament damage was so severe that she would never fly again. She now lives with Alex and Sam, our other two Spotted Eagle Owls, and they seem to have accepted her as part of their little family.
We also now have another dog at Daktari, her name is Loki and she is a Bloodhound/Labrador cross. She belongs to Risette, our Outreach Manager and goes to visit the children in the schools with her every week :o)
Presley, one of our Pied Crows had started to pluck her feathers out of her chest, we tried all sorts of lotions and potions to stop her doing this but nothing seemed to work, until we made her a sweater out of a sock! It's a funny sight seeing a black & white crow with a green jumper!! It worked a treat though and now her feathers are beginning to grow back!
The Meerkats have been moved into their new enclosure, they have lots of room now and lots of sand to dig in. The volunteers did a great job painting the walls outside, it looks amazing!
Princess Maya, our little Marmoset Monkey has also been moved into a new enclosure. She now has much more contact with the people and sunshine all day, now she's a happy little Monkey :o)
The staff and volunteers at GVI (Gobal Vision International) held a fundraiser for our Outreach Programme. They pushed their Toyota Hilux all the way from their camp to ours - that's 11k on dirt roads!! Everyone got dressed up and us and all our volunteers joined them for the last road, from our gate, to our camp. Then the kids pushed it over the finish line! It was a great day and they managed to raise over £2000 for the Outreach Programme!
The children, as always have been both a pleasure and a challenge. We recently 16 had children from a VERY poor school, they barely spoke English and all thought that poaching was OK. It was a real challenge for our volunteers. These weeks are very stressful, but these are the children who need us the most. If we can change the minds of just one of these children, it could make such a difference for their future. Knowing that there is another world out there available to them, that is only out of their reach if they let it be, could be the push they need to carve out a better life for themselves and for future generations, instead of following in their parents footsteps to a life of poverty or crime.
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The Daktari Team :o)
I only started end of last year with our Outreach project and I already have students who have benefitted from this programme. The students in the eco club are eager to learn and to develop themselves. They work hard and take their club very serious. Their level of English is improving really fast, since the classes are in English. Thanks to your donations all of this is possible!
I would like to introduce you to some of the members in the eco club, so you get an idea who you are helping with your donations.
Meet our youngest member; Edna, she came to Daktari in the beginning of this year. She immediately fell in love with Daktari, the animals and working with the volunteers. She had the opportunity to visit Khamai, the Reptile Park, with us and she was sooooo scared, but she paid attention and made notes. The following meeting she had to get up and speak in front of the whole club to tell everybody about her experience and what she learned… she didn’t want to, as she was too scared, but after a little talk and some extra encouragement, she did it! You should see the growth in confidence! The other members support her as well, which is amazing to see.
At the end of the meeting I told everybody that we got a book donated for the whole club to use, they were so excited. I told them that for each meeting I want two students to prepare a little short lesson to share information from the book with the others, everybody agreed. I asked who wanted to go first and to everybody’s surprise it was Edna who offered to go first! Yeah she learned a lot already!
Brian is the vice chairperson of Ramatau Eco Club. He is now in grade 10! When he came to Daktari two years ago we already knew he had some potential. After his visit to Makalali Game Reserve, which we do every Wednesday with the children, we always ask what they want to be if they could choose a job at Makalali…. Most kids answer chef, ranger, tracker, mechanic, maybe even camp manager… but Brian had other plans… he wants to OWN Makalali! Now after two years he still has this amazing drive! He is clever, but sometimes has some trouble focussing. He is a real teenager, but you can have a lot of fun with him. When he concentrates, he is a smart guy and hopefully some of you can stay in his lodge in a couple of years J
Oh were to start the story of Grace. She came to Daktari about a year ago. She just moved into Metz and Ramatau was a new school for her. She came from Durban, because she was speaking another language she didn’t have a lot of friends. Her English was perfect, better than most foreign volunteers, but that gave the image at her new school that she was too good to speak Sepedi (the local language). Luckily she is a girl that doesn’t give up easily, she fights for herself but stays polite. She immediately joined the Eco Club and started to make friends in this club. Now they stick up for her and they ask her for her help. She was even elected as a chairperson this year by the club members! She is clever and has so much charm that everybody falls in love with her, the volunteers, the teachers at school but also all the boys…. She has so much potential; she will definitely make it with the right opportunities and a little back up from Daktari!
Maite is 16 years old and in grade 11. She is the treasurer of Ramatau Eco Club and takes her job very serious. She takes notes and makes sure everybody pays their contribution. She makes sure that all the members take the club serious. Maite comes across as tough, but deep inside she is just an insecure teenager, like the others. She gives has great ambitions, she still doubts between becoming an auditor or a field guide. She has time to figure this out, but is clever enough to make it. She takes charge when needed and is not scared to speak up. But when you ask her to hold a presentation in front of the class she all of a sudden is very nervous, the same when she is doing here work for Daktari, extra lessons or lessons for the club, she is always nervous to make a mistake…. She needs some positive reinforcement so she can grow even further.
Mbhaxeni is 17 years old and in grade 9. He is a bit shy but tries very hard to overcome his shyness, for example in participating in the competition for Mister Ramatau 2012. Sadly he lost from Evans, another club member. Mbhaxeni is a member from the start; he wants to learn new things and is serious in his schoolwork. He has one real passion though…. He wants to be an architect! He has a whole book full of drawings, very detailed, so amazing. He already contacted a architect in the area and asked him for advice, but the only advice he gets is that the next step is to start practicing on a computer, since nowadays everybody uses programmes for drawing …… that’s going to be a mission. Hopefully he will have his computer / laptop in the future with the right program, because I believe in his talent, he can make it!
I spoke about Kutullo in my last report, the youngster who wanted to work at Khamai after our visit. Well, we arranged an interview for him and he got the job! I’m so proud of him.
Thanks to your donations we were able to organise a little trip for our Eco Club Students.
Last week we organised 2 trips to Khamai, the Reptile Park nearby. There were 20 students from the Eco Club selected to join us on this amazing trip. These 20 students had to make a little report on what they learned that day so that they could give a presentation to the other students of the Eco Club the following week.
Because we mixed two of our Eco Clubs on the trip, we started with introductions! They were still a bit shy, but all excited for what the day would bring. After the introductions we had a slideshow presented by Given, who works at the Reptile Park. He gave us a lot of information about the different reptiles and snakes. How to recognise them and what to do when you come across one. Normally the local people kill anything that looks like a reptile! This causes snake bites, because people have no idea what they are doing, they make the snake scared and agressive and they make a lot of mistakes trying to kill it. That's why it is so important to educate the local community, Khamai even has a free service to come and remove the snake from people's houses.
The children were all glued to what Given had to say.They tried to answer all his questions and asked a lot of questions as well. They were taking notes and drawing the differences. After the introduction slideshow, the children could walk around and see all the reptiles in the park. They were amazed!
And then the most exciting part of the day started.... each student had the opportunity to have a big snake around their neck! Some were really brave and offered to do it straight away, others needed some help from the other students. They all helped each other and were convinced to take this crazy opportunity.
After a short lunch break, of which the food was sponsored by our wonderful volunteers! We got a little demonstration from Given.... He showed how 3 of the most dangerous snakes responded when you accidently get too close and what you should do, first with the Puff Adder, then the Boomslang and last but not least the Cobra! Wauh that was some excitement.
Given also showed some spiders and scorpions, teeth, and bones and skins of snakes. The students had such an amzing time. Then they finished the day with a present, a keyring with their picture with the snake around their neck! They were so proud!
One of my older students, Kutullo, who has finished his matric, but was not accepted at university because they were full and has no job at the moment, fell in love with the Reptile Park! He absolutely loved it, took in all the information and you could see how he enjoyed the day. By the end of the day he told me, now he knows for sure what he wants to do, he wants to work at Khamai! He would love to start just as a volunteer cleaning the cages, he doesn't mind, as long as he can learn more about these fascinating creatures.
That's why we do what we do, we educate, make the local community safer by education and if we can even inspire our students for their future, that is a big bonus!
The week after the students who were at the Reptile Park gave a presentation in front of all the other Eco Students about their trip and what they learned. They did so well; they were drawing on the board, asked questions and had discussions with their peers.
Of course we would love to offer this to all our students, but for that we need your help. There is a possibility that Khamai could come to the schools to give demonstrations for the Eco Clubs, but this costs 25 rand per student plus 200 rand for petrol. I think this would be a great experience and a big reward for all their hard work! Please help us get Khamai over to the school for their education!