Getting Settled into the Farm Lifestyle

Work on the farm has been tiring as all of the animals are clearly of first priority and have to be cared for properly.  This means feeding must be done on time, early in the morning and in the mid-afternoons.  Fortunately, the volunteers do an excellent job of working together to get everything done and the jobs have all been divided up so that we rotate and work in groups to get everything done.  The feeding routes are divided into five separate routes but they are quite confusing and long.  After a few days however, I am starting to get the hang of everything, setting into the daily routine, and learning the ways of the park.  The park has more than 250 species of animals so as you can imagine the park is quite large and there are lot of chores that have to do be done during the day so we definitely keep busy!  I do a lot of raking and cleaning of enclosures, cleaning of the park, preparing the food, and watching over the animals.  Although the days are long and the work can be daunting, it has been fun getting to play with the animals as well.  Being an animal lover, it is especially rewarding work and the days go quite fast.

We’ve definitely had our share of fun as well as all of the volunteers are able to hangout throughout the day and especially at night.  We’ve had some time to watch movies like “10 Things I Hate About You” and “Family” (however I don’t recommend Family!), play cards, hangout, and talk.  We’ve done some exploring around the Game Park as well in our off time as well so the long walks have been nice.  There has also been plenty of “alone time” that has been filled with journaling, reading, and listening to music.  The weather here is still quite chilly—we classify the weather at night as being cold or fricken cold by whether we sleep with our heads inside or outside the sleeping bag.  Yesterday afternoon was pretty rainy as well, making for a very cold afternoon for chores and such!  Whoever thought Africa would be this cold… oh well!

Not all of the chores are daunting however as one of the chores this morning was to take the dogs for a walk… on the beach.  We get two days off a week, so the nine of us that were working today along with Ali (one of the owners) took the six dogs and headed off on about a fifteen minute drive to the beach.  Although it was pretty windy and a bit cold, we all got some exercise as we walked along the beach and the hills (literally) of sand.  The dogs enjoyed playing Frisbee and playing in the ocean as well… plus it was nice to get off the farm for awhile as we’ve been on-site now for about five days.  Tomorrow is my off day for the week so a few of us are heading into Jeffrey’s Bay, about twenty minutes from here, for a hangout day!  We don’t really have any set plans other than enjoying the touristy surf city and walking around the beach areas.

A few changes in the itinerary plans as well… originally I was supposed to be here until next Saturday but I met another volunteer named Anne from Germany and we decided to do a bit of exploring ourselves.  Ironically she was headed to Cape Town the same time I was… both of us booked on the Baz Bus.  I had no idea what this Baz Bus thing was before I got here but it is a tourist bus that runs along the garden route similar to a Greyhound bus.  However, the Baz Bus allows you to get off and on along the route as many times as you’d like for the same price.  So instead of taking the entire day trip from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town, we decided to travel and see a bit more of the coast of South Africa.  So our two off days for next week are going to be Thursday and Friday, allowing us to leave here early Thursday morning and stay over somewhere along the way for two nights as we make our way to Cape Town.  Although it is absolutely gorgeous here on the farm and very relaxing (especially on off-days), I’d rather explore a bit more of South Africa and see some other cities along the coast.  Plus Anne and I have become pretty good friends in just a few days—so it should be a lot of fun!

Alright, off to do a few more chores for the day before a braai tonight… yum!

~Susan

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