How DAKTARI influenced Catherine Hauw's life
Catherine was only 18 years old and had just finished high school when she came to volunteer at DAKTARI for 3 weeks in summer. She had always dreamt about South Africa and DAKTARI was the perfect mix between teaching kids and taking care of wild animals.
This was 10 years ago and yet Catherine still has sparkles in her eyes when she talks about her experience: « DAKTARI is a home away from home. You find here a family where everyone is just so friendly ».
After DAKTARI, Catherine started her veterinary studies in Budapest. She always knew she wanted to be a vet, but DAKTARI confirmed her true passion is for Africa and for wild animals. So, after getting some work experience in England, she decided to follow her dreams and do a 5-month volunteer experience through South Africa, Botswana and Malawi as a fully qualified vet.
Catherine states that DAKTARI has inspired her to initiate this volunteer project. It nurtured her love for Africa and for wild animals, but also highlighted the need to support the communities. As a result, she is going to volunteer in SA to rehabilitate Cheetahs into the wild, and teach international vet students’ routine surgeries like neutering. In Botswana she will also help the villages around with animal care.
DAKTARI also allowed Catherine to make friendships and memories of a lifetime, such as an 80 years old man who was enjoying his retirement doing volunteer work across the globe. She eventually went to visit him in Vietnam a few years back.
She also still remembers the sneaky squirrel who came every morning the open the bottle of juice to drink it, or the smell of the delicious banana bread that was cooked by the kitchen staff.
To the question: what would you say to someone who is hesitating over joining the DAKTARI family? Catherine answers: “What do you have to lose? I can assure you that you will live a very special experience that you will always remember. Just go and volunteer at DAKTARI !”
If you want to support Catherine’s volunteer project in Africa, go to her GoFundMe page where you can donate to support the charities she will be working with.