Mechanic at Makalali showing the kids under a car
Thank you so much for your continued support of Daktari! We are currently working with our last group of children for 2011, and are excited to say that we have welcomed 387 children for week-long stays this year! Those 387 children had the opportunity to work one-on-one with an amazing group of international volunteers, take care of injured and orphaned animals, and make a commitment to make South Africa a better place. We couldn't do it without our sponsors, so thank you from all of us!
I also wanted to update you a bit on some special things we are able to do with the children each week. One of the coolest things we do is to take the children every Wednesday morning to Makalali, which is a private game lodge that borders our land. The rangers there take the children around behind the scenes where they are able to meet all the different people that are employed at the lodge. Before they leave they have a short lesson with the volunteers called “Job Opportunities,” where they learn about the different jobs, the type of training and education required for each, and the correlation between staying in school and making a higher salary. This lesson and the experience at Makalali are especially important in this area because jobs in ecotourism are prevalent, and the children do not usually know that they exist. The kids brainstorm a ton of questions before they leave, and have the chance to ask the employees at Makalali all about their jobs. It's also a great chance for them to look for wildlife out of the open air vehicles and they yell, “STOP!” every time they see a new animal! They are so excited when they see these wild animals for the first time.
We have one other bit of exciting news – thanks to our Global Giving donors (spurred by a fundraising campaign from our current American Volunteer Coordinator) we raised over R30,000 to re-do the roof of our kitchen and lounge before the rains hit! We now have a tile roof in place of our old thatched roof full of holes – and now there is a dry place for the kids to spend time when it is raining outside!
It has been an incredible and exciting year here at Daktari. The volunteers, the animals, and especially the children thank you for your support! Have a wonderful holiday season, we look forward to updating you again in the new year!
Working on the roof into the evening