This is it, the day I’ve been dreading for 3 months. Today is the day I board a plane that will take me to Heathrow and then DFW. I realize that I must return to my American life; college, pets, sisters, preparing for the dreaded GRE. After my first month here I called my parents and my dad was worried that I wasn’t going to come home. I assumed he was just being funny about the whole “don’t get eaten by a lion” thing but he was worried I wasn’t going to get on my plane because I was having too much of a good time. Well don’t worry Dad, I’m coming home!
I came to South Africa to learn about veterinary medicine in game animals but I got a whole lot more bang for my buck. I met people from all over the world; Holland, Canada, Taiwan, Australia, England and many more. I met people who are similar and completely different from me, students accepted to and declined from vet schools, kids on gap years, game farmers, trophy hunters, the upperclass, the lowerclass, people I hope to keep in touch with for as long as possible. I even spent 2 weeks on a project with a Kappa Delta sister! While I was here I scaled cliffs, ran from Buffalo, played with animals that could eat me, tasted new foods, attempted to learn more Afrikaans, saw every animal present in The Lion King, tried to resuscitate a giraffe and enhanced my pool skills (who am I kidding I’m still horrible at playing pool). As cliché as it sounds, traveling to South Africa has taught me a lot about myself and what I’m capable of.
I just want to thank everyone who helped me go on my summer journey; Kim Sotman, Lauren Mims and her family, Leanne Lowry, Stephens College, the Russell family, and my family members. I want to send über thanks to my parents, Lisa and John McCurdy, who allowed their only child to travel to a third world country for the whole summer without question.
See you later South Africa, I’ll be back as soon as possible!
I have almost spent 2 weeks at Blouberg Animal Clinic in Louis Trichardt, South Africa. We’ve done everything from vaccinations to an impromptu doggie c-section to a stillborn giraffe calf to Tuberculin testing Buffalo. The small animal work and routine care of the game animals (antelope, giraffe, buffalo etc.) is pretty cut and dry but emergency care on game animal is tough. When you neuter a dog it’s pretty self explanatory, unless the dog has an underlying condition not yet found (we found a heart condition in a Rottweiler going under the knife last week, surprise!) but when a Sable has disgusting sounding lungs and a racing pulse what do you do? You have to act fast and concisely to save the animal as well as yourself. Running from Buffalo awaking from sedation is not fun, take my word for it!
This weekend we went to Kruger National Park. Naturally since I was wishing to see a lion we saw antelope and elephants. Our elephant sittings were spectacular. Being here for 10 weeks I have my share of amazing and terrifying elephant stories but some really neat ones took place then. We hadn’t really seen anything and were starting to worry when BAM! an elephant stepped out on the round in front of us. There huge so you’d think they’d be easily spotted but they’re really good at hide and seek. We went around the corner and started a young bull who was first scared but then wanted to get us back. He turned around, spread his ears and lowered his gaze to see past his trunk. Luckily for us it was only an empty threat. We saw elephants playing in the waterhole, digging water from the ground and playing in mud. We saw a large herd of females and calves. The babies were really interested in us and kept sticking their trunks in the air to get a sniff and inching closer. The mothers weren’t too keen on this but never threatened just got in front of the youngsters.
My last week with Bundocks Game Capture was amazing! We had time off at the beginning of the weekend so we went around Mapumgumbe Reserve, where we were staying at the moment. We went to where South Africa and Zimbabwe meet in the Limpopo river, the water was so clear and it was breath taking to know we were standing on common ground between the two countries. We also stood on a large hill where South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana can all be seen off the cliff. In the picture Zimbabwe and Botswana can be seen in the background.
I also got to ride in a helicopter! The view was spectacular! We were looking for waterbuck that we were catching that day but nyala, giraffe, impala and wildebeest could be seen.
My last day was probably my favorite day in South Africa thus far. We did paperwork on a rhino like my other rhino experience but we didn’t dehorn, blood tested and microchipped 4 buffalo and did some more paperwork for a roan. Not only are rhino my favorite animal but buffalo are really dangerous and unpredictable leading to an adrenaline rush like no other.