Anne Klein – DAKTARI Volunteer 15/02/2014 – 28/03/2014

“Dear Michele and Ian,

About 3 months have passed since Dasha and I had to leave and flicking through my huge bunch of pictures recently, I felt like I had to write you and say hello.

I am still incredibly grateful for every single moment I spent in South Africa, for every single laugh we had and every person I met (including you two insanely great people!!). While at DAKTARI I often thought “Man, I really want to remember every single bit of this” and I was afraid I wouldn’t manage to. But now, looking back on everything from a distance, I feel that I actually do. I remember the smell of the bird bath after the porcupines jumped in and the sounds of the lovely ostriches. I remember Shiloweni’s heavy breathing, Jacob’s childishness, cheeky Cachou’s bites and Mirabelles excited pre-dogwalk barking. I remember loud kids, lovely kids, annoying kids, grateful kids, “little shit” kids and kids that are enthusiastic about new things as no-one else can be. I remember waking up to water dripping on my face in the night, and monkeys running over the roof in the morning. I do remember Candy’s singing, Hyenas’ calling, bumpy rides in the back of the bucki, zebra rescues and a hundred other “hurry up”s. I think of the silence and beauty of a sunset on Leopard Rock, and of falling asleep to the sound of nearby lions. I remember your dirty jokes (and mind), Ian, your wonderfully infectious laugh, Michele, and I remember thinking that I probably never met people like you before, with hearts as big and minds as open as yours. All these things I remember so vividly, that looking at the pictures of the camp (including the one you find attached) I actually feel homesick. And you two are the ones to blame. Thank you for letting us participate in your life, for making us feel so at home in a place so far away from home. And thank you for everything you taught us – about ourselves, about life, about the wild (I really feel like a little ranger, when I watch Africa documentaries!!), about how to be a good person. I never had such a good time learning so much.

I do still miss you dearly (and I think Dasha does too) and am already saving up for the next trip.

See you very soon, you crazy, lovely, big-hearted, open-minded, funny, ambitious, perfect people!

Lots of love from Germany,