Africa Unearthed

Season’s Report 2017-18

A massive THANK YOU for joining us in this beautiful country this summer. We know it’s not always easy to find the time and raise the funds. 

Also, a special thanks to Cat, Ty, Becky, Zine and Tom who have been a fantastic team to lead our volunteers in summer 2017/18

Please enjoy reading about your achievements as this will give a complete picture of the vast amount of assistance you have given to the local community. All through your generosity!

Khula Village

The new house being built this season is for a family of nine kids and a mother by the name of Sindzeles. Currently, Sindzeles and her children are living in a small two room wooden shack. At night, the eldest child sometimes sleeps on a thin mat outside to make room for her siblings. The house is also on a slant making it a routine flood scene during torrential rainfall. The current bathroom is comprised of plastic shields in a marsh making it difficult to reach at the best of times.

Her children watched us build for neighbouring families during the past season and are tremendously excited to be receiving our help! Thank you group 1!!

The new house consists of three rooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. 

Dimensions of the new house: 3 rooms , 1 kitchen and 1 bathroom (each room is 3m by 4m)

We also worked on the final touches of a house that was left incomplete from our last season in St Lucia, finishing the interior and exterior paint work.

Education: 

The volunteers spend the first hour of each day making a lesson plan. They browse through mathematics, sociology, geography, and beginner writing books and group themselves together to create a one-hour lesson. The volunteers spend approximately two hours rotating the students through their lessons at both the high school and Mama Doris’s. Volunteers provide personalized tutoring to struggling students at the school. At recess, the groups play soccer and practice drills with the children.

Mama Doris Creche:

Volunteers enjoy varying actives such as, jumping jacks and playing soccer. The groups also read stories to the kids and help them with their drawing, coloring and craft. At the end of the day volunteers sing songs or hold a dance party for the children.

Before helping prepare lunch, volunteers assist children with proper hand washing. 

One group also assisted with the graduation celebration at Mama Doris’. To help prepare, volunteers set up the gazebo, chairs, and party features for the guests. Volunteers then assisted with kitchen duties and helped cook and clean up once the celebration was over.

A very special mention to Jack and Georgia in Group#1 who raised over R20,000 for Mamma Doris and the children at the Creche. With this money Jack and Georgia bought cleaning supplies, cooking utensils (pots, pans, silverware), toys for the children, food and clean drinking water! Thank you both for your incredible generosity!

Emdoneni Cat Rehabilitation

We did just as much work for the zebras on the property as we did for the cats at the park this season.

We started off by clearing vegetation from between two cheetah enclosures, then put them in the feeding area for zebras to chow on. 

We cleared out the back re-wilding camp for the three servals who were rescued earlier this year. Since they arrived they had lived in the clinic of the temporary holding units and therefore hadn’t been able to explore or even walk on grass for months. We were under a deadline of five days to complete the job and completely remove all branches, bushes, tall grass and prepare their shelter hut, and the volunteers worked so tirelessly that the job was completed before the end of the 3rd day. 

Thanks to the hard work, servals Phoenix, Feather and Smokey have a new home to explore and regain their fear for humans before being released next year. 

We cleared out long grass, bushes and branches from the laneway in between cheetah camps, to lessen the risk of snakes. We also carried on with the basic maintenance of enclosures, such as cleaning water tanks, poop-scooping, and removing low-lying branches from enclosures. As well as this we rescued a baby Nile monitor lizard from inside the well and released him in the nearby zebra pond.

Crocodile Centre

Over the winter months, many of the bushes grew really big making it difficult to see inside of the enclosures for the tourists and also making less space for the crocs to move around. Our first couple groups were able to clear a lot of the bushes away making it a benefit for more than just the crocs. 

We caught 2 large crocs that had escaped from another enclosure and all the volunteers learned how to properly catch one with no hesitation and did it just like professionals.We cleaned out the enclosure where the oldest crocodile lives that is 100 years old and did a lot of bush clearing, cutting down trees in enclosures to create more space for the crocodiles to move around

It was time to take 256 of our baby crocodiles out of their incubators and move them into a bigger home so they could grow more and maximize their strength. After this was done we sanitized the whole incubation room because the next day we had to collect some of the new eggs and placed into the incubation room to stay clean and sterile and healthy. We were able to collect eggs from 2 nests. Our very first nests of the season! We collected a total of 113 eggs! By the end of the week we saw that some of our Nile crocs were getting too big for their enclosure, so we were able to capture and release 4 crocs into a bigger home.

We captured a Dwarf Crocodile who was nesting, so we could collect and incubate her eggs. We collected twenty three of her eggs and as we haven’t had dwarf crocodile eggs hatch in many years, we are very excited to see what happens!

We also captured and released two crocodiles who had escaped into a different enclosure where they could have been killed by a bigger crocodile—twice!!Repaired the fence where the crocs broke through.

Thank you so much to contributing to a great season of work. You can check out our other countries here. All past VESA volunteers will receive a discount on future programs so why don’t you join us in Laos, Fiji or the Amazon next summer and continue the dream.