Denise Deutschendorf Testimonial – Volunteer, January 2018
AERU = Warm welcome in capital letters
When I arrived in Plett with the bus, I didn’t know what will come up in the following three weeks of my stay in the Knysna Elephant Park. I can say one thing for sure: I was really excited.
Christina stood there in her green AERU T-Shirt with a huge smile and all my doubts have been disappeared. While driving she told me that I should enjoy every single moment because the three weeks will be passing like nothing. And she was right! I am sitting here now at my last working day and look back on the most emotional time in my live. Meeting, touching, observing elephants, this was my absolute biggest dream that I have ever had since I can imagine and after almost 33 years it has become true. Every single day here working together with and for the elephants is amazing and is full of surprises and so much fun.
One of the best moments here were the Christmas Party for the elephants! We had made for all elephants a cake and on the next day all of us had the pleasure to feed the cakes to the elephants. When I stood in front of Thandi with my cake, my heart was in my mouth! And when she came, I felt how heavy her trunk is and how gentle she picked up the watermelon which has been hidden inside the cake. This was definitely the best Christmas present I have ever seen, like a small child under the Christmas tree!
All this it’s due to the adorable girls working for AERU, Dr Debbie and the guides. They are all sacrifice themselves for the welfare of the elephants and this is unbelievable awesome! I have enjoyed every single day so much that I am really sad to leave this place here, but I can say that every single day of my holidays and not spending Christmas and New Year’s Eve together with my family was worth to spend for AERU. Then I feel that the AERU girls are not just a research team but also a new part of my family! Thank you for everything! And I am sure that it won’t be the last time that I have been here.