Laura Peoples

Laura Peoples Testimonial – January 2019

The past 10 weeks at AERU have been incredible.

Travelling to Africa has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember and I could not have wished for a better experience. I leave with such fond memories of the elephants and of the people that I met there. It truly felt like a home away from home!

My favourite thing about volunteering at AERU was the diversity of tasks we were able to do each week. I loved collecting data in the field each day. It was also lovely to prepare enrichments for the elephants, to work in the lab and to monitor the zebra herd on Fridays!! Every day I learned something new and spending time here has only inspired me to pursue a career in this field more.

Being at AERU for so long makes it difficult to pick my favourite stories as there were so many special moments each and every day. The first time I met the elephants I was in awe. They are all so special in their own way and this became more and more evident the longer I spent time with them. Standing next to them is so humbling; pictures just do not do them justice. One of my highlights was celebrating Thato’s birthday. I got the amazing chance to make an elephant birthday cake (not something you can say every day!) and also give it to her the next morning. Feeling the weight of her trunk on my arms was crazy!!! It was such a magical experience that I will treasure forever.

It was also amazing to see the bonds between the guides and the elephants. It was so inspirational to watch them work with them so closely and to see the respect they have for each other.  I am so grateful to have been able to see such beautiful interactions between man and animal.

Leaving the AERU team is so hard, but I will remember my time here forever and I will definitely be back again!

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