Martha Tingey

Martha Tingey – Volunteer, August – September 2018

These weeks have flown by, I feel like I blinked and it was my last week. I feel so grateful to have had this amazing opportunity to help with the research on these beautiful gentle giants. I loved elephants before this but now I feel like I love them even more. There is no other animal that you can compare to Elephants they are so unique and intelligent.

One of my favourite moments from my time here was the boma observation in the evening, overlooking the night camp. Watching the sunset and seeing the Elephants settle down for the evening was very special. Another amazing moment was from the time I stayed in the Elephant Lodge for one night. Watching the elephants sleeping and being able to hear them snoring from my bed was remarkable. Also I loved doing the pineapple owls for Mashudu’s 11th Birthday and giving the Elephants the pineapples to eat in the morning.

But this has not just been about the elephants. I’ve felt so welcomed and included in the AERU team. Thank you so much for everything. Special thanks to Hannah, Christina and Nicki putting up with me every evening. I would to also mention Kathy generally putting up with me, even when I smell of dung. I will also miss Frank.

After three rain filled weeks in South Africa, a country I expected to be warmer than the UK, I finally managed to watch the elephants swim in my last week. It was worth the wait.

These have genuinely been the best weeks of my life and the happiness I feel every time I see the elephants has not gone away. Even after seeing them every day for 3 hours. I will be coming back; sadly you can’t get rid of me that easily. As Christina said at Taryn’s baby shower, “You are getting married here”. So I guess I have to come back for that too.

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