Sandrine, an ecovolunteer, tried her hand at ecovolunteering with her family at a vervet monkey rehabilitation center in South Africa, with VolonTerre Africa.
VolonTerre Africa: What motivated you to join Flore in the Vervets monkey conservation project, along with her little brother Victor?
Sandrine: My motivations were twofold. The first was to make sure that Flore, my 24-year-old daughter who went there for 6 weeks, was doing well and that the center was serious. The second, of course, was to share this extraordinary experience with Flore.
Initially, it was Flore's project. She knew what she wanted! When I decided to join her with Victor, her 10-year-old brother, I saw a way of awakening Victor to a greater respect for others, animals and nature in particular. On the one hand, there's the everyday talk at home... Then suddenly, in the field, with practice, he sees and experiences things differently and understands them better.
What do you feel this experience has brought you from a family point of view?
This experience has brought us closer together! We were already close, but sharing all these new emotions at the center, this simple life of sharing, has brought us even closer together. Being useful together at the same time bonds us even more, as if we had something that others don't have ....
My 10-year-old son already respected a lot of things thanks to the education he received. However, after this experience, he is now even more motivated to respect nature in its entirety, which is a real eye-opener. Living in a group makes for rich exchanges. Victor has also become more independent, thanks to the little missions he has to carry out every day... he's grown a lot in his head. For the three of us, it was a real wake-up call about what is necessary for happiness and what is superfluous.
Would you recommend it to other families who are hesitating, and if so, why?
Yes yes and yes !! Go for it, families! It's a time for sharing, unhindered and unencumbered, free in nature from morning to night. We ask questions, we observe each other, we grow. We become aware of each other's place. It's a lot of good emotions.
You can talk about connecting with each other and with nature. In a simple environment. In today's context, this experience could make a lot of people happier! Becoming aware of what's essential...
We've been home for over 2 months now and the emotion is still very strong. If it were up to me, I'd go back immediately! In fact, my eldest daughter, Flore, has already gone back!
Interview by the VolonTerre Africa team