I have still been keeping busy, enjoying a bit of time at the pool and such in the afternoons but other than that it has been go, go, go… but the past two days have been two of the best on the entire trip thus far! I have become really close to two girls from Norway named Sarah and Monika. We’ve been paired up for all of the activities as we arrived the same day and I have really enjoyed getting to know them (they came as friends from home), spending lots of time exploring the city together, hanging out by the pool, and we are together for almost all of the activities during the day as well.
Yesterday, the three of us had “Introduction to trees and their uses.” I wasn’t super excited about it but of course went in open-minded and actually really enjoyed it and learned a lot. For example, I learned that 85% of our medication comes from vegetation and that often the only medication natives take here is for malaria if they get the disease… otherwise they stick to the plants and trees for curing illnesses. One tree is even able to cure venomous snake bites such as mamba bites… pretty crazy huh! Dereck, the guide in charge, also showed us the tree in which Viagra originates… a cheap alternative I guess? Ha. Next, our midmorning activity was “meat prep and cub feeding,” which is pretty self-explanatory. Essentially, using our bare hands, a few knives, and a scale, we cut up zebra and buffalo meat for the cubs—8 kg for each except for Chete who receives 6 kg (they are fed every other day). To feed them, we just walked into the enclosure with our “wheel-barrel,” which essentially was a basket and a few wheels, and laid out the meat for them… a bit dangerous I suppose when reflecting on it… however we did have a few happy cubs when they received their meals and instantly started to devour and tear apart the meat! Oh, and Herbert, one of the guides, surprised me and made me my own personal walking stick (that we all use for distraction if need be) with my name carved and all… very cool!
Today was excellent and just as exciting as well. I started out the day with a client walk—definitely going to miss walking with the lions at 7:00 sharp in the mornings! Yesterday, Sarah, Monika, and I asked Nathan if we could learn how to cook traditionally for our midmorning activity—Nathan is the head guy in charge of the volunteers and coordinating throughout the day… and the three of us have become especially good friends with him. So our midmorning activity for the day was CP: Cooking with Patrick (the head chef at Mesuwe). We cooked fish for lunch with potatoes, and salad for all of the volunteers then served them when they arrived back from their midmorning activity of enclosure cleaning (we definitely got the better job for the midmorning…). We also cooked a traditional meal of sadza and game meat that we served to the workers. After our lunch preparations, we started preparing for dinner which was a braii (barbecue) so I made skewers, chopped lots of meat and vegetables, and made the gravy for the sadza (all of which turned out fabulous!). Cooking with Patrick was definitely my favorite midmorning activity thus far! Following lunch, I was able to spend a bit of time by the pool relaxing with the other volunteers, definitely a nice, needed break before we headed back to Mesuwe for an afternoon client walk. The braii was a lot of fun as well as we enjoyed far too much food along with a waffle and ice cream from Creamy Inn, an ice cream store pretty close to the rest camp, afterwards… quite possibly for the second night in a row… oh well! If you ate one of these waffles, you would totally understand as they are just about the best things ever created… yum!
The past two days have been fabulous, like I said two of the best so far! I can’t believe that my two weeks here are almost over… where did the time go? My 16th birthday was spent at the Matterhorn in Switzerland and I never thought I would be able to top that… well tomorrow is my 20th birthday and I have a feeling that it will be the best birthday/birthday weekend yet. Lots of activities and excursions are planned for my last weekend here in Victoria Falls of which you can read about in my next post… I’ll keep you in a bit of suspense 🙂 but let’s just say it’s going to be one heck of a weekend!