Aliyah Zweig Testimonial – Volunteer, March – April 2018
In no known universe is there a reality where I would not recommend volunteering at Kynsna Elephant Park with the AERU crew. This has been one of the most incredible experiences and has left me with friends for life, both human and elephant alike.
I came with very little expectation and an open mind, if I had had any expectations they would have been surpassed and my mind has been absolutely blown. I had always wanted to work with African Elephants and this program has guaranteed me returning and continuing to work with them and the people who are wise enough to see all the incredible wisdom and love they have to offer.
Both the AERU staff and the KEP staff are wonderful people who work hard and love what they do, to be a part of that, even just for a month, was an honour. The elephants will charm their way into anyone’s heart that is smart enough to look and see the wisdom, peace and playfulness they hold.
Not only to be able to spend time with these beautiful creatures but to also enhance their welfare and help ensure their future has been an absolute pleasure that I cannot recommend enough! It is one thing to feed them some fruit or give em’ a snuggle but to contribute to the AERU research and get to know the Ellies quietly and personally is without a doubt magical.
The park itself is on a stunning piece of land that I implore anyone to explore if they come to volunteer. The beautiful hills, the incredible valley and the lovely fields hold a wonderful freedom and 25 pain-in-the-butt zebras. I myself have become a member of a zebra herd here at KEP and warn future volunteers away from my pain-in-the-butt zebra family, we startle at loud noises and like to kick and bite.
The AERU personnel are made up of the best and the brightest weirdos from around the world. Cooking, dancing, singing, researching, observing, laughing and relaxing with them has been an absolute ball. Christina, Nicki, Taryn, Clare and Kathy, you guys have made this experience what it is and for that I will always be grateful!
There is a beautiful normalcy to working here. For me, it’s like living my dream life, everyday enjoying the fulfilling work I am doing (even if that includes scooping up elephant dung, love it). I get to spend time with my favourite creatures in the world, blessed by their incredible intelligence and grace. I laugh and joke with incredible people and explore this stunning country that is beautifully different from my own.
Getting to know the guides and joking and chatting with them has made me smile every day. They are an incredible group of men whose bond with the elephants is astonishing to be around and inspires so much respect. They’re also just the best group of tricksters around.
I hold a warning for future volunteers: Be prepared to get dirty, it’s not always an easy job but it’s incredibly rewarding and if you let the experience be all that it can be, it will change your life.
Also, Shungu will always be my boy.
THANK YOU AERU TEAM AND KEP! DON’T WORRY, ILL BE BACK! (AS SOON AS POSSIBLE) 😉