For those of you who have previously read my blogs I believe in setting myself challenges and making the most out of life. This year I wanted to do some voluntary work in a country which I have never visited ie South Africa and it was absolutely magical.
The first week was spent with friends in the Kruger National Park and I saw so much wildlife that I was honoured to see not only leopard but also white lion of which there are only 500 in the world.
The next few weeks saw me near Port Elizabeth working as a volunteer on a game reserve. It was communal living with mainly young people from different countries on their gap year. The work was physically hard in temperatures of over 35 degrees but very rewarding. I noticed that I didn’t get very tired because I just concentrated on the task in front of me without having to worry about future tasks or take on any responsibility. Plus the African way of life is much slower and therefore there was no rushing around. We cut down trees, maintained tracks, dug fence holes, re-fenced and built a stable. There was a breeding programme there for lions, tigers and cheetahs and a most adorable 6 week old white lion cub that had been abandoned by his mother.
We also visited a local school which had no electricity and not enough chairs or desks for each pupil. Yet the children were always neatly dressed and so very happy. It was a good reminder that possessions and material things do not necessarily bring happiness. I took the opportunity to speak to one of our guides from Zimbabwe and he had a wonderful philosophy on life – “make a plan and negotiate”!
I’ve managed to retain the slowness of pace and keep the after glow of a truly amazing experience. I’ve learnt that rushing around does not necessarily mean you get more done and that to be content in yourself means living and appreciating the present without mulling over the past or worrying about the future. Long may this feeling last!
For pictures on my adventure please link into https://www.facebook.com/karen.thomas.52831666?ref=tn_tnmn