Stand UP South Africa: Update #3

Stand UP South Africa
Update #3

Dear Friends and Families,

July 19
Today was Day 3 of community service. We started the day out by doing touch ups on the key hole gardens. We painted the bottoms of the bricks surrounding the plants and painted second coats on some of the lighter colors. It was cool to see how a coat of paint can make such a big difference. After that, we went around the garden finishing other elements, like painting tires that would become planters and raking a path so that it was even. We ate lunch and then played with the kids in the community that go to the school. We played soccer and danced and it was very humbling to see how much they enjoyed it!

Next, we went to an elephant sanctuary. There were two male elephants that they rescued. We learned about how the elephants came into their possession and about elephant anatomy. Something that we learned that we didn’t know before was that Asian and African elephants are actually two separate species and can’t crossbreed. We toured the stables where they sleep at night. They then brought the two elephants to a viewing area where we heard them speak. We were then able to pet the elephants. We touched their tusks, trunks, ears, wrists, knees, tails, and nipples. They had more hair than we expected and their skin was really rough and kind of lumpy. We fed them and they gave us kisses! It kind of felt like a wet suction cup on your neck! After that, we walked with their trucks in our hand around a path. It was very fun and a great experience to do this!  It was a very fun day filled with lots of service and lots of fun!

July 20
Today we began our day with community service. We were responsible for all the finishing touches on the project, so we leveled the ground by creating dirt piles and then we carried the dirt out of the garden with wheelbarrows to an area around back behind the fence. This task took most of the day because of the amount of dirt that needed to be moved, but we also did some paint touch ups, and some of us helped build the furniture for the eco classroom. When it was time for us to say goodbye to all of the kids and the other volunteers, it was an emotional experience. The kids were thankful for all of our help and hours of playing games!

We then headed out on a 2 hour drive to the center of Kruger National Park for surprise game drive! It was a so much fun!! We saw hippos, elephants, giraffes, baboons, cheetahs, leopards, wildabeasts, and LIONS!!! We were all so excited to see the lions and when we first stumbled upon them, they were just sitting in the middle of the road! Eventually they got up and we discovered that there were three other lions with them.  After the drive we came back to the lodge for dinner and had an early evening. another VERY exciting and eventful day!

Tomorrow we head to Johannesburg for Shabbat!

With love from South Africa,
Fancie B. & Carlie S.
Stand UP South Africa Participants

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