Obstacle Courses, MehMe the antelope and some Q/As

You know how I’m in awe of what the anti poaching team do here at the conservancy and how last week I even got to track rhinos with them and interview them about their efforts to save the species? Well, this week it was time for me to find out what it ACTUALLY takes to be in good shape by their standards. The volunteers and I (stupidly) decided to try the military style obstacle course that they use for training twice a week.

Because, why not?

Well, in hindsight, I could have told you why not:

  1. It involves running like a headless chicken while you’re spinning on poles, jumping through tyres, rope climbing up hills, doing pull ups on logs and leapfrogging your way to insanity.
  2. You’re timed. #noaddedpressure

Our time: 4 mins 57 secs. Oh, and we nearly died.

The anti poaching team‘s time? 1min 45. ONE MINUTE and FORTY FIVE SECONDS, PEOPLE!!! Not okay. Just….. no.

Moving on from THAT non-embarrassing situation, I would now like to introduce you to MehMe:

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MehMe is an adorable 8 month old antelope who was adopted by the conservancy owner when he was found newborn and orphaned by some locals. For the last 8 months, he has been living in her house, loving people and being best friends with her Labrador, Dinga. Too cute. I was lucky enough to accompany them on one of their afternoon walks. It involved Dinga leading the way and MehMe following very close behind. Whenever he went too far off, we’d just yell ‘Meh!’ and he would magically reappear infront of us. MehMe loves cuddles and Dinga doesn’t always like to see his limelight being stolen, so here is a usual scenario:

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The conservancy owner is known for adopting and raising rather strange pets in her home. Those include a rhino, a cheetah, a warthog and now MehMe. We walked onto a beautiful hill, from where we watched this dramatic sunset, and I felt so so lucky to be able to spend time with the woman who not only leads one of the coolest lives ever, but also makes sure every animal in and around the conservancy is given a home and looked after.

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Well, every animal except for spiders that is… who seem to like my room a lot. So much so, that I had to get the Spider Removal Committee in to help me ‘relocate’ a friend from my ceiling. And by Spider Removal Committee, I mean housemates who are way braver than me. And yes, that includes the dog….

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And if you’re not into spiders, you might prefer this super cool stick insect (also found right outside my room. fml)

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Now, just like last time, I’m gonna answer some questions that have been popping up ever since I got here. I appreciate the interest and if there’s anything I missed, just write to me and I’ll add it in!

How does this compare to the last project you filmed in Africa?

To be honest – it’s exactly what I expected! Since it’s all filmed in the same place, I feel less like a travelling gypsy and more at home, but that also means I know what to expect from most activities and there is less of a surprise element after a while.

Where do you live?

During weekdays I live in a big house with the conservancy’s volunteers. I have my own bedroom which is amazing and we share common areas so it’s more social. During weekends we go back to ‘base’, which is the producer’s villa – same as last time! If there’s one place that REALLY feels like home now, it’s the villa for sure!!

What do you do on weekends?

Chill with the producer and his family mostly – we have ping pong matches and like to play scrabble and darts too. I meet up friends for tennis and sometimes go out for lunches or dinners. I also take a few hours every Sunday to look through the week’s footage to see what we’ve achieved and if anything could be done better. Also, since I’m back on good wifi, I take the opportunity to FaceTime family and friends every weekend.

Do you get tired?

By the end of each week – yes!! On Saturdays I just come home and sleep. All the efforts of the week hit me like a truck on Saturdays. But by Monday I’m normally ready to go again.

Where and when will this air?

Same as for the last series – it takes about a year to edit everything properly and to send it to the TV Channel and get approval on all the edits. Once I have all the info about air times/ dates/ locations, I will be sure to post on my facebook, instagram and on this blog (which you can subscribe to on the Home page)

What have been your favourite moments in this series so far?

I really enjoyed paint-balling and other activities related to anti poaching, my time with the elephants, the whole warthog saga, getting to know the girls at the community and filming the adorable MehMe!

Volunteer of the Week

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Lisa is originally from Minnesota but has spent the past 5 years working at Arizona Zoo, where her favourite animal to take care of is a not-so-smart ostrich. Lisa loves rhinos and has come here to help their conservation and to see how different caring for wildlife would be in a conservancy as opposed to a zoo. Her passion for animals started when she adopted a raccoon (named Ricky), aged 5…. and the rest is history! Lisa hopes to move to Hawaii, not just because of a potential job in marine conservation, but also because one of her favourite hobbies is shopping for swimwear (she does have some killer pieces that I am not at all jealous of…). Here are some cool Lisa fun facts that I feel will make everybody’s day better:

  • She loves anything miniature: tiny cupcakes, tiny burgers, tiny pancakes, you name it!
  • Her and her father want to build a mini sustainable house on wheels when she comes back from this trip
  • She HATES bananas and the cold
  • She has repeatedly beat our camera guy at badminton here at the house and it has been my favourite ever thing to watch.

Next Week: Bees that amaze, voice overs, chameleons, the world’s cutest kid and more!

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