Thirteen years after his time at Daktari Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage, we had the pleasure of interviewing Raphael, who returned for a visit to the place that gave his life and career meaning. As a law student at the time, Raphael discovered DAKTARI in SouthAfrica while looking for a fulfilling volunteer opportunity. Little did he know that his experience at Daktari would be the turning point in his career and life.
Raphael was immediately struck by the organization’s mission – to educate local children about wildlife conservation and provide a home for orphaned and injured animals. “I was looking for something with impacts, something to keep me busy and something different to discover. I found all of this with Daktari. I met some absolutely dedicated people” he said.
Raphael was assigned with several tasks and responsibilities during his tenure at Daktari. He found great value in being occupied with work and witnessing the immediate impact of his efforts.. “I’ve always been fond of experiences where you can see your impact with your own eyes,” he said. “That’s really what I like, being so much busy, seeing the impact, and of course just being in this environment with all these animals everywhere, with all these people that are working together.”
Raphael’s time at Daktari had a significant impact on him and helped him realize the importance of being happy in one’s job. “It’s not only about salary, it’s not only about where you live, no, it’s about what you do and if you like waking up in the morning“ he said. “That’s really the thing that I learned at Daktari, I wanted to be happy about my job and I wanted to be happy about what I would do. So it’s been completely decisive.”
After his experience at Daktari, Raphael continued to work with non-governmental organizations around the world, gaining valuable experience in emergency response situations and conflict zones. Today, he is a 33-year-old humanitarian consultant based in Canda. He has worked with various non-governmental organizations all over the world for the past ten years. “I have been working on emergency response, which is basically delivering aid to people in need. Either when they are natural disasters such as earthquakes or floods or conflicts impacting people’s life.”
Raphael noted that Daktari has grown significantly since his first visit. There are more houses, more animals, and more volunteers than before. However, he commended Michèle and Ian, the co-founders, for keeping the core of Daktari the same despite the growth. “I would like to congratulate Michèlele and Ian for keeping it all together because it is their dedication and commitments that are really leading Daktari to an even brighter future,” he said.
Raphael’s tenure at Daktari was a turning point in his life that paved the way for a fulfilling career in the humanitarian sector. It is a testament to the fact that prioritizing happiness and a sense of purpose can yield extraordinary outcomes.