Telekishi Masebe Volunteer Project 2012-13

by on Sunday, 10 February 2013

Gareth Webb and Jaclyn Stephenson (both ISV Project/Tour Leaders) with one of the children from the local Pedi community © all images used with permission by ISV South Africa

ISV project leader Jaclyn Stephenson sent us this blog about her group’s project experience at the Telekishi Masebe volunteer project in South Africa:

This season we witness a diverse group of volunteers arriving in South Africa. After exceptionally long flights from various corners of the world, they head 5 hours north into the African bush. With uncertainty ahead, they climb aboard the bus and with the sun setting on this new and unique countryside, they trust that ISV are taking them to a project that they will be working on for the next 2 weeks.

Telekishi awaits; the small Pedi cultural village that accommodates us for the duration of the project. With its muddy dung walls, thatch roofs and wooden fences, the vollies get orientated to their new home away from home. When the sun rises the following morning, the calls of red chested cuckoos and black collared barbets sound around the camp and the vollies are given a warm welcome by all.

After finding out what is poisonous, harmful and hazardous in the bush, we head out to explore. Hikes, walks, bushmen paintings, tracks and animals all await and in no time at all the volunteers are working hard in the field measuring biodiversity through transects in the bush. We use ropes, tape measures, poles and compasses while we orientate ourselves around the dense summer bush. Our research is used for reserve management to uphold a sense of biodiversity and ecological balance in the reserve. We find out what is growing, what is suffering, what is contributing or not to the biosphere and what more can be done to improve such a special part of South Africa.

The Nov 26 ISV group with the children from the local Pedi community

We also work with Environmental Education in the local communities, both adults and children to look into what is needed in the reserve and how the people can assist with as well as benefit from the preservation and protection of such a unique area. Games, activities and learning opportunities are constantly around every corner and volunteers experience extensive discussions and talks that stimulate and provoke thought.

This dynamic program allows volunteers to get involved in a variety of experiences. They will participate in community visits, cultural tours and reserve drives all while learning how to conserve, monitor and be aware of the environment around them.  It’s an African adventure you don’t want to miss out on!

Jaclyn Stephenson, Project Leader with ISV South Africa

For more information information on ISV in Southern Africa, please visit our website.

 

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