Ethan chose to take part in 2 eco-volunteering missions in August and to leave for South Africa. To do so, he went through VolonTerre Africa for his registration and choice of missions. He spent 1 week on the "Reptile Center" mission and 2 weeks on the "White Lion Conservation" mission. Last August, just before his departure, we interviewed Ethan to find out a little about his questions, his reasons and his choices... It was the "before" interview
Ethan returned a few days ago, and we wanted to know how he felt on his return, following these 2 experiences... This is the "after" interview...
What were the highlights of your missions?
What I particularly appreciated during these two missions was being in direct contact with the animals and learning a great deal about the different species. The people I was working with knew their environment and the animals living there inside out,
It was really enriching.
What was your biggest discovery/surprise on each mission?
With reptiles, I was really surprised by the fear that South Africans have of snakes. I was really able to understand how important the education of the population is through this mission.
Among the white lions, what surprised me the most was the very close, almost fraternal bond that exists between the different lions, most of whom didn't grow up together, but who had suffered the same difficulties in their lives before arriving at the mission.
Were you satisfied with VolonTerre Africa's organization, follow-up and on-site project management?
Overall, I was quite satisfied with VolonTerre Africa, which really helped me prepare for the trip and was also very present when I was there to make sure everything went smoothly. Nathalie was available to answer all my questions and reassure me about my fears and apprehensions. As for the supervision on site, I was looked after by people who were really passionate about their work and who helped me to discover many things about animals. At the reptile mission, Donald and Prince really accompanied me throughout the week. I was able to get involved in many activities...
If you had to use 3 adjectives to describe your experience, what would they be?
I'd use the adjectives surprising, enriching and finally unforgettable.
What's your fondest memory? Come on, you get one per mission :)...
The memory that stands out most in my first week at the reptile center is the time we were called to catch a cobra that had broken into a private home. I was in charge of catching it! When I was at the White Lion Mission
mission, during a morning monitoring, two lionesses surrounded us at the front and rear of the vehicle and we couldn't move for nearly an hour until they finally decided to move... It was surely one of my fondest memories!
What would you say to a potential volunteer who's still hesitating to sign up?
I'd tell them to go for it, because it's the kind of experience you very rarely get in your lifetime. Then I'd also tell them not to hesitate to contact the people who work at Volonterre Africa, as they'll be happy to answer any questions they may have....
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