My Time At Imire

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On June 21st, I set off on my first solo adventure to Zimbabwe to be a volunteer at the Imire Rhino and Wildlife Conservation project. I was quite nervous about traveling through Africa by myself, but I met some lovely people who eased my nerves.DSC02073Once I had arrived at the game reserve, I met my fellow volunteers and we got stuck in the work. We had many jobs as volunteers which included cleaning the elephants’ night enclosures, feeding the game supplemental feeds, walking with rhinos and elephants to observe their behaviours, conducting game counts and snare sweeps, traveling to the local secondary school to play volleyball and then helping them in their gardening class, and traveling to the primary school and teaching the kids how to read English.DSC02087My favorite night of each week was called Shona Culture night where a teacher from the primary school would come and cook for us. I helped her each week because I absolutely love to cook. Just before I left, she gave me a recipe for a traditional dish called sadza and a bit of this special rice that she had grown herself. Each night after we had eaten our meal with our hands, a few local children would come to sing and dance with us around a fire. It was so much fun!DSC01902During my second week, as an experienced horse rider, I was given the opportunity to help round up cattle in order to dip them in an acaracide (a chemical that kills ticks) and jab them with an anthrax vaccine. When we were driving them across the reserve, we were aided by a few zebras, greeted by three Giraffes and passed by the elephants. It was an amazing once in a lifetime experience.DSC02031In my last week, a vet came to dehorn Imire’s five rhinos (three black and two white) in order to discourage poachers. The vet first darted the rhino with a sedative and then used a chainsaw to cut off most of the horn in a painless manner. I was in charge of recording the measurements of the rhinos and even got to take a White Rhino’s rectal temperature!IMG_2672What sticks with me the most out of all the memorable moments of this trip is one 14-year-old girl named Rarrashe. I met her when we were gardening with the secondary school children. She spoke to me about all sorts of things because she loved to speak in English, but what I remember most is when she said, “If I ever see someone with something I don’t have, I can never be jealous because that is wrong. I must be happy with what I have, because that is what God gave me.” It was one of the most inspiring things I have ever heard and made me realise the most valuable thing you can give these communities is an education.

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