Sunita Randhawa Testimonial – Volunteer, April 2018
In the words (and accent) of Nicki M “HIIIIIIIIIIIIII” – where do I even start?! From the very first time I received my first stuffed elephant teddy I have loved the animal very much. They’re beautiful, intelligent and gentle creatures and I never imagined I’d ever get the opportunity to get up close with them – until I came across AERU!
From my arrival at Knysna Elephant Park on the 2nd April one of my many dreams came true – I met and interacted with elephants. If it wasn’t for the hard work of Dr Debbie and the rest of the awesome staff here at AERU, interacting with elephants would be merely a dream. Each and every member of staff made me feel welcome. Whether it be Cathy’s never ending, (out of this world!!) life experience stories to Nicky M’s support during my elephant cake making fiasco to Taryn’s top notch banter and Christina’s crazy, artistic personality to Nicki P’s shared fear of spiders to Claire’s wealth of knowledge about animal behaviour to Dr Debbie’s kind nature and inability to let animals go unloved (it explains all the random animals) – this team is a well-crafted, wacky group of individuals who work in perfect harmony and added to the experience for me. All of their hard work to make sure the elephants are the happiest they can be will never be forgotten.
The guides here who work so closely with the elephants are GREAT! They all have their own quirky personalities and are the most humble group of people I have ever met. Nothing is too much for them and you are guaranteed to have a fun shift no matter which guide you’re with and if you want elephant knowledge they are the guides to go to.
Volunteering with AERU has been a life changing experience that has taught me a lot about myself and given me the opportunity to do things I’d never have done before – making elephant birthday cakes taking top spot. I have learnt a lot about the elephants and all of their amazing personalities and have become attached to these huge, grey blobs. To know I have contributed to their welfare is a memory I’ll never forget.
I couldn’t recommend AERU enough as an institution to volunteer with especially if you want to get close to these gentle giants! Thank you AERU for making my dreams come true and introducing me to Shungu.