Mobotse in Sepedi means beautiful in English. 

Mobotse is the word that comes to my mind when I look back at the two weeks I spent at DAKTARI.

Mobotse were the office staff, the volunteers, the kids, the kitchen and maintenance staff, and the animals.

Mobotse is the Sepedi language I tried to speak. It is the culture, the traditions, and the way of life I discovered here.

The kids that come to DAKTARI are very underprivileged. But in the end, it’s we, the volunteers, who are privileged to meet them. We teach them lessons and we have social talks with them that have an impact on their life.

And the spark in their eyes when you take the time to answer all of their questions is worth a million rands.

Seeing them sing, dance, and laugh by the bonfire is a gift but also an immersion in their culture. These kids live in Africa, but most of them have never seen any wild animals in their life.

They learn about the stories of the injured animals here, at DAKTARI, and how to take care of the wildlife in general.

In only a week, you see them grow and have an appetite to learn more about the environment and the animals making South Africa a treasure for the rest of the world.

Leaving your group of children every week is just heartbreaking. You are attached to these youngsters.

But then, one day:
“Jenny, there’s someone on the phone for you.”

During the weekend, one of the students called back at the school to have a chat with me. She wanted to say dumela (hi).

My heart melted. It is these kinds of moments that make it so important to volunteer or work at a non-profit organization to make these children, and thus, the future of South Africa, better.