Saturday, February 6, 2010

Normal Routine Begins

Hey everybody. Just finished a grueling two weeks of back-to-back trainings: this past Friday we graduated an additional 23 Skillz Coaches (on top of last week's graduating class of 21), now trained to implement Grassroot Soccer's HIV/AIDS curriculum in their communities. Here they are.

Last weekend was sandwiched between the two Trainings of Coaches so we took it pretty easy. We did get a chance to go to the nearby Mfolozi-Hluhluwe Game Reserve, which is an awesome game park located basically in our backyard. Most game park tourists, in my experience, plan their game-seeing trips like military operations: getting up at 5 AM to maximize the chance of seeing certain animals coming in from night hunting (mostly lions), hiring guides knowledgeable in the local wildlife and safety precuations, renting pimped-out Land Rovers with viewing platforms, and so on. We, on the other hand, went a more budget route - we slept in late, stumbling into the park around noon, and one of the Mpilonhle employees drove us out there in her SUV. We just sort of mosied around the park's roads, getting lost repeatedly, not even opting for the cheap-o game park map purchase. But, as my Lobsterman Uncle's good friend Henley would say, the price was right.

And, despite our poor preparations, we ended up seeing a bunch of awesome stuff. This place was packed full of cool animals...for our our laziness, we ended up seeing FOUR of the "Big 5" (the 5 most sought-after animals on game excursions: lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino, elephant). Here are a few pictures:

The game park was beautiful:

Buffaloes grabbing a bath:

"Excuse me, sir, have you been drinking tonight?"

Lion walking down the middle of the road:

Real work starts on Monday, and I'm just getting a chance to catch my breath from all the crazy trainings. Excited to get the ball rolling here, though. Playing on the town rugby team, and training with a great semi-pro soccer team, but only because the coach likes me. Expect updates soon.

1 comment:

  1. I am going to guess that the animal you didn't see was a leopard.

    Keep posting when you can, Chris.

    I'm still on schedule to travel to West Africa in September with the Peace Corps, so your posts are really helpful for me to get some sort of a feel for what it might be like for me.