Emilie Hansen: Medical & Lion Conservation Project

If you combined with Lion Conservation, what was the best part about combining community and lions?

The best part about combining medical and lions must be that I get the possibility to work with both human and animals.

I have learned much about the Zimbabwean culture during work and observation at the clinics and at the same time met the lions and especially been a part of the cubs walks and improvement.

The best part about combining the medical project and the lion project was to variation during my stay at Antelope Park, and every new day was different from the next.

I got to experience Zimbabwe through two different points of view: The importance of animal conservation and the way health care differs from what I know from my home country.

If you were to do your trip again, what would you do differently?

I would definitely book my trip for a longer time than 4 weeks. Times run by so fast.

I would probably also do more with the lions because I think that is an amazing experience that I might never get the chance to do again.

What has volunteering with the community done for you? How has your perspective changed as a result?

Volunteering with the community has given me a wider perspective of the differences in the cultures.

I have a lot of respect for the Zimbabwean culture, especially how the women take care of their children from birth and later in life.

I have also experienced the difference in how to work at the clinics in Zim versus how we work in the health care system in Norway.

In Norway, we have equipment for everything, which they do not always have here, and it is great to see how creative they are with the means they have access to.

What was the highlight of the trip?

I have experienced many things here, so it’s difficult to point out one specific highlight.

To mention something on my list, I would include the lion walk where I can get to know the handlers and how they are working.

One of the many good things from the community has been the home visit where we got to meet a sweet family.

We made dinner together with them and they told us about their family history.

It’s interesting to see the big difference in how families are living together and how they take care of each other.

This visit made me open my eyes for the difference.

What is the most important thing you have learnt from working within the local community?

The most important thing I have learned is that we have to respect each other’s culture.

It’s also important to be curious, which give you the opportunity to get to know the culture and the people in different ways.

I like how friendly and open people here are.

What is the most special thing you have gained from your volunteering experience?

The most special thing I have gained is to be more open with my own thoughts and curious around other peoples life.

In the start, I was scared to say something wrong but when you get to know the people and how the community works, it becomes easier to open up.

What was your favourite part of the project?

My favourite part of the project must have been the home visit.

I also found it interesting to be in the dressing room at the clinic where I got to clean wounds in a very different way that I’m used to home in Norway.

What extra activities/ excursions did you get involved with as part of your volunteer adventure?

I went to Victoria falls for 3 days with a group of girls. That was really amazing.

We experienced the falls and had a lovely sunset cruise on the Zambezi river.

We also went to a restaurant called Boma, where we ate local food and watched a great show with drums.

I was also able to join other projects on different days, for example, the teaching project and the stables project.

The first week I went to a horse safari, which was amazing even though I’m a bit scared of riding horses.

The view of the park with all the different animals was really beautiful.

At last but not least I spent a day on a goat farm, the Happy goat Company.

We got the opportunity to vaccinate baby goats and trim the adult goats hooves alongside herding, marking and other farm activities.

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