Janet Hickey, Daktari volunteer 03/08/2013 – 23/08/2013
Dear Michelle and Ian,

I just wanted to write a few words to thank you so much for the wonderful experience I had at Daktari recently.

I have been home a week now and I have had time to reflect on my visit to your wonderful home. And you truly made me feel ‘at home’ from the moment I arrived. I had a lovely welcome from Katrin at the airport and then a huge hug from Michele when I reached Daktari. I had been pretty nervous about my trip and all my worries disappeared when I started meeting everyone. Each and every volunteer was welcoming and friendly and went out of their way to make me feel welcome. Aby gave me a tour of Daktari and was so kind to me and was always, always there to sort any problems out with a big smile. Aby is an amazing, hard working, and fun loving lady!

The other volunteers all got on so well together and there was always laughter in the lapa and great fun to be had at the end of the day. There were a good variety of ages and nationalities and that’s what added to the fun, so many different characters all together because of their love of children and animals and their desire to travel and experience new things. The long term volunteers like Helena, Kaleisha and Sebastien are just really special, they have so much patience with all of the short term volunteers, they have to constantly answer the same questions over and over and I don’t know how they were so tolerant of us all lol! But we had great fun with the wolf game and the many card games and Sebastien makes such a wonderful magic story teller!

As for the ladies in the office, they are just hilarious and such fun. The sound of laughter from the office is a joy to hear. Especially Claire’s wonderful laugh! I think they sum up the spirit of Daktari, happy, caring and hard working. Louise, Amy and Claire are wonderful girls and I will always remember them dancing at the bonfire.

Michele and Ian are in my opinion saints! To open up their home to so many people and give their lives over entirely to help educate the children through the medium of animals is just wonderful. Their love and passion for the animals, children of South Africa is evident in everything they do, the results of their hard work are evident too when you see the smiling faces of the children on Fridays and how they do not want to leave Daktari after their stay. You can also see how much they have learnt each week too by the results of the survey every Friday. Ian and his jokes and Michele and her big warm heart are very very special people.

So thank you Michele and Ian. I loved working with the children, hearing them laugh and seeing them meet the animals for the first time, especially watching their faces when Spikey appears at dinner time on Mondays…priceless. I loved meeting all the animals too and each and everyone of them is cared for with love too. All the staff, Senor, Jacob etc. are always smiling and singing, There aren’t too many people in this world who look so happy at work. I love your country as well and the whole experience has touched me and enriched me and has been an unforgettable life experience.

Thank you with all my heart!

Janet 🙂