Dominique Diedericks – Volunteer, July 2018
Die bos het ‘n rusteloosheid in my siel ontwaak – D.D
I came here not really knowing what to expect, as reading stuff online can only get you that far. Finally after months of being in a constant state of ecstasy and anxiety, not knowing if I should join or not, I made the decision to just do it. I landed at the airport in George and was immediately greeted by a team that made me feel more at home, than home could ever feel.
I just want to thank everyone on the team, Dr. Debbie especially, for allowing me such a wonderful opportunity. Secondly, I’d like to thank the guides and management for showing us patience and willingness to join KEP and AERU, knowing the two could potentially clash on opinions. Thirdly, and which I think is most important, I’d like to thank the herd. For allowing us the chance to study them, as well as find within ourselves a sense of wildness. They’ve taught me compassion; endurance and courage. I had always read about the Knysna elephants; the forest, and how our souls connect to these experiences, but never did I think I’d be able to live this fantasy myself.
From Sally I’ve learned to lead without fear. From Keisha I’ve learned to protect others at all costs. Thandi brought out a sense of playfulness within me, while the boys brought the realisation that there will come a time when you have to break away from home, to follow your own path and pursue your own destiny.
I will definitely miss the tractor rides out to the field; the collection of data, and the interaction with the herd. Time flew, but this is an experience that I will never forget. This is definitely not a goodbye, but more so a see you later. I hope to see this family again next year.