So I have arrived safely in Natures Valley near Plettenburg Bay in South Africa. After a pretty uneventful flight, I breezed through Joburg immigration at the pace of a snail to arrive just in time to board the flight to George airport.
I was collected from the airport by one of the interns and new found housemate – Brittany who has finished her masters in Botany and is placed with Natures Valley Trust (NVT) by the WWF…. Folks that is the world wildlife fund and not the wrestling organisation. After an 1.5 hour car journey and a stop at Pick n Pay (supermarket) we reached the lodgings.
Reality started to hit home as I explored the digs. It dawned on me that I appear to have swapped places with my brother. He has gone from shared bedsit style accommodation to nice 3 bedroomed house in a delightful Cotswalds town. I have gone completely the other way, at least he never had mosquito wallpaper!
Apart from the extreme cold and slightly damp room (no heating) and despite no sleep last night I am feeling surprisingly okay about it all.
I managed to get a bit of time before work this morning to explore the lagoon (picture above) and walked across the beach to the ocean. It truly is a stunning part of the world. In many ways reminds me of the South Island of New Zealand. I can’t wait to get to explore more.
After the exploration and a chat with Dr Mark who heads the NVT, I was introduced to the team, Interns – Brittany and Jonger (housemates) plus 3 Bellingham, USA uni students who are here as part of their course for next 3 weeks (Megan, Zee and Maggie). I set about the activities for the day. Tidying the office, laying out and untangling the fishing nets, chasing Baboons away (yes I did say Baboons) didn’t get many of them in the office at Feltham. Or perhaps I did, I do recall saying bloody baboon even back then.
Baboons as it turns out are the local pest, they break into bins, houses and generally trash everything. We have a paint gun in order to shoo them away from approaching the office. I was totally estatic as you can imagine and followed them down the street until I got a good snap.
We spent spent the rest of the afternoon doing demontage (taking down tents) which reminds me of another job I had when I was travelling across Europe with Eurocamp.
Two tasks coming up tomorrow, hiking to the salt flats to look and count something in fisherman boxes (no idea) before going onto adopt a river with Jonger where we take local school children and teach them how to test their villages impact on the water. So really looking forward to that.
It gets dark and cold pretty early in the evening, am typing this with a woolly hat on, 2 jumpers and underneath a blanket in my room, so this is definitely a bit of reality biting home!
Did I mention there is no TV…whole new learning curve!