I learnt a lot from the elders

16th July 2014

Elephant bull

Saturday 12th July 2014

This is definitely trails camp with a difference, we get to sleep in. I was doing wake up this morning at a lazy 06.30. There was no game drive first thing, instead some exercises to act as an energiser and then we sat down with the children for some porridge. Nice and warming for such a chilli morning.

When the children were having their photography lesson Steve and I went down to the river with a couple of pangas to cut down some of the alien invasive plants namely Mexican poppy and Datura.

We took the girls out for a game drive, again this was another opportunity to show that elephants can be gentle and shouldn’t be feared if handled in the right way. We also had a nice sighting of a couple of hyenas and some wildebeest. Weirdest sighting may have been me running through the bush as I returned from picking up my toothbrush at EcoTraining, all the girls had their cameras out taking a photograph of the strange malungu (white man).

Once back at camp the girls had quiet time which was an opportunity for them to work on their projects whilst I read my book and dozed. Every now and again one of them would come and ask me questions about their animal – when and where do they sleep? How many young do they have? How can they be conserved? How many young do they have? Most I could answer but to be doubly sure it was a case of, “shall we look that up in the book?”

In the afternoon I had to do a 30 minute tree tour around camp. This was a lot harder than I thought it would be as I couldn’t over complicate things and had to talk through one of the girls as a translator for the elders. I covered five trees, not sure how much I taught the children but I certainly learnt a lot from the elders on medicinal use of trees. I take my hat off to all the teachers I know, its not easy.

Georgina who is volunteering with “Children in the Wilderness” gave a talk on following your dreams, working hard for them and overcoming obstacles which was great. She had both the children and I gripped by her expedition to reach base camp of Mount Everest. I’m confident that the children will get so much out of this trail but if they only take one thing away I hope it is that they should have a dream and if they work hard enough they can achieve it.

The food isn’t as lavish as what one would get during trails so I kept on popping in to see Patricia and Ellen in the kitchen. They knew exactly what I was after and pointed me into the blue trummel for some rusks.

We had a productive drive after dinner seeing two of the animals that the children were researching – black backed jackal and bushbuck. Also a nice sighting of a thick-tailed bushbaby and a herd of zebras looked stunning in the silvery light of the full moon.