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Entry 29F - Sixth week with the Penguins

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Entry # 29 F –Sixth week with the Penguins

Monday, October 30

VIBES CARD – Be Flexible.

I was supervisor of pen 8 with 110 birds. During our first tubing session, I noticed that there were some penguins with new feathers, but when you touched them, all the new feathers came off in your hand. I told Nola about them and she said that they would be cold and suggested that we bring the worst ones up to ICU for care. There are now 7 or 8 baldies in a pen in ICU. Hopefully, with quieter and warmer conditions, their new feathers will come back.

There were lots of opportunities to practice flexibility today. As we were walking out the door to rain, our guesthouse mate asked if we wanted a ride to work. YES! As I got to every hose, the sprayer mechanism was missing. Most of the people that I had assigned to help in the pen had their own ideas about how things should be done. We had to completely clean pen 8 as it had not been done in a while and we had 6 pens of birds to work around. The fish was not thawed at the time that morning feeding was supposed to begin. As we got to the afternoon fish feeding, most of the fish had been taken leaving some pens with none.

There was a huge delivery of fish today that will help. Even though we take daily counts of how many boxes we used yesterday, it is still more of an art than a science. Some boxes yield fish that is way too soft or too damaged to feed. As the birds get healthier, they eat more (a good thing for them, just hard to calculate how much each pen will eat on a given day).

The weekly schedule (which changes daily according to the number of birds, volunteers, staff, etc) is;

Monday – grade, bleed and weigh the pens. During this chick time, the team is getting through about 2 -3 pens (of the 6 major pens) on Monday.

Tuesday – normally a release day. – Normal duties including cleaning the extra pens of other birds.

Wednesday – alternate release day if Tuesday had bad weather. – Normal duties.

Thursday – second day a week to grade, bleed and weigh if needed. During chick time, the team tries to get to the pens that were not bled on Monday.

Friday – normal duties.

Saturday & Sunday– unless it is chick time, these days are considered lighter. Normally only one staff person is on duty, another on call and the volunteers simply do feeding, treatments and cleaning of their pens, no extra duties. It is a time to catch up on mats if we are behind, but generally, it is pretty light.

The Daily schedule – which again changes according to pen number, (age, weight and condition of the birds) and day of the week.

8:00 - meeting and assignments are put on the board

8:15 – begin morning treatments – usually darrows for the group – 30 to 45 minutes before the birds can have any other treatment.

9:00 – clean the pen – if you have a swimming pool, you may also have to clean that or help get the fish ready.

10:00 - fish feeding – One hour after the last one is fed until they can swim or have any other treatment

11:00 – clean or general maintenance

Noon – additional medical treatments as needed or same as 11:00

1:00 – lunch?? And get fish ready

2:00 – afternoon fish feeding

3:00 - see 11 am

4:00 - final fluids and medical treatments

5:00 - home?

All this can change when you have three sets of fluids and two feeds.

Tuesday, October 31

VIBES CARD – Share a Breath

Pen 7 with Senta as supervisor. We have had teams of helpers from Nature Conservation to help with the birds. Some have experience with feeding and tubbing, but most do not. Raymond is one that can help with feeding. I spent some time being plugged in with him today but had a breakthrough and realize, just because it isn’t my way, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work or get done on time.

Birds were very hungry and for the am feed, we had tiny fish in comparison that what we normally have. I called them minnows, but they weren’t really that small, it just took 2-3 three of them to make up a decent size fish. We are trying to limit fish in the am to only 4, as if we fill them up, they have two sets of fluids on top of that and they tend to start regurging. Even so, if I had a starving one in front of me, they got extra fish.

In the afternoon when we fed, they were taking 7-8 normal size fish with no problems.
Nola had the opposite problems to our am-sized fish as she said she had whales to feed the baldies in ICU.

Bleeding with Nola and Vanessa and a whole new batch of bites, bruises, nips and scratches from the little tykes!

Helped hold for water treatment for a cape gull (felt like a feather) and a cormorant (even smaller and lighter). Someone else put the tube down the throat. I didn’t feel up to holding and tubing for the first time. I learned something as I worked with these other birds – birds that fly have hollow bones, birds that don’t have heavy bones. The penguins feel like ironing hams compared to the gull and cormorant that feel as light as marshmallows.

Ride home with Senta and then cab to my last massage – During the back massage, I inventoried the entire body, organs and joints and thanked them for their participation in this year.

French Facial with Marta that was fabulous and left me wonderfully drowsy. Was a cool evening so put on the winter pj’s and slept very well!

Wednesday, November 1 – My last day at SANCOOB – Release?

VIBES CARD – Seek Solitude

We knew the day before that there might not be enough volunteers who could feed and tube so that it would be a heavy work day for the rest of us.

I was assigned to assist Karen in Pen 1, 140 birds, most that needed medications in additions to the 5 daily handling. In addition, we had the 45 skinniest who are on 6 treatments a day instead of the usual 5.

Today offered me lots of breakdowns and breakthroughs in very short cycles including stop forcing issues and my opinions, by adjusting my position during struggles they ease up, what is wrong with someone else is a mirror of yourself (have a little patience, tolerance and generosity), and one that I still struggle with - when a person talks non-stop, does not pause for my response and therefore hands out the wrong medication, they are to be understood not judged and complained about.

There was a boat release today of 16 birds including #200 and the gannet. This would allow more room in one of the pens that has access to the pool. The team is trying to get birds into these pens as soon as possible as that means they are more mature and it cuts down on the number of fluids that they need on a daily basis. Any reduction in the number of times they have to be caught and handled is always a good sign.

Late in the afternoon, I was passing pen 10 with the smaller pool and got to see the Penguin parade as they made their way into the pool that was being filled. Very cute as they stood in the low water waiting for it to get high enough for them to swim. They were so cute, I went for my camera and got to them on video. Film at 11

I rushed around saying goodbye and ran home to shower and catch a cab to the Africa Café for dinner with Nicole. It offered dishes from all over Africa. After you had sampled the entire menu, you were allowed to request as much as you wanted from any dish that you especially liked. We were both so full from our samples that we only asked for more bread, dip, appetizers and spinach. We ate so much that we sat feeling like ticks as we watched the drumming and singing. It was a wonderful way to celebrate my last day at SANCCOB and the final act of my time in Cape Town.

Thursday, November 2 – blog and do da day

I had thought I wanted to see a few more things in Cape Town, but by Monday of this week, I knew that I needed to back away from more on my list and take it easy for 2 days.

Slept in, doodled around and organized my stuff to get ready for packing. Will probably mail a few boxes home tomorrow. Had a lovely nap, and then joined Sasha and Theresa for a trip to the grocery store for supplies for our braai (bbq) tonight.

We began at 7:00 and I excused myself at 9:00, just as the karaoke machine was being fired up.

Friday, November 3 – Pack, packages to mail, voted, lunch and dinner desert out

More packing today and off to the Postnet to send off my boxes. When she totaled all my boxes, it was over $800 in courier charges. They could not go cheaper from this location. I opted to take the largest ones to the P.O. After another taxi ride with my boxes, I finally got them sent for only $225.

Walked through the grocery store to buy goodies for the workers at SANCCOB and stopped at work to get a few last photos. I few more hugs and goodbyes and then off to lunch with Nicole.

My ballot was delivered today via FedEx thanks to Karen Stickland and I voted and called for a pick up within 1 hour.

The rest of the day was packing, blogging and dessert and coffee with friends from work.

Saturday, November 4 – Fly to JoBurg

Raining as we drove to the airport.

No problems on the flight – full flight 2 hours

Picked up by the Pretoria Backpackers for a 35-minute drive. Hostel is in an old mansion. I had thought that I would begin at the park on Sunday, but I was told that I would be picked up on Monday. With a day off, I investigated the two tours I was interested in – Soweto or the Cradle of Humanity – a paleontology site in the Northern suburbs. Only the Soweto tour was going, so I signed up. I had the afternoon to explore so I got the local map and found that the art museum was only three blocks away. I had been told that Pretoria was safe enough during the day, but not a night. I knew that I would be home in time as I was still pooped.

The art museum was very good. I went to the local shop and picked up some snacks and stuff for a light dinner and finished reading the Shadow of the Wind. It was excellent. I can’t wait to discuss it with the book group in Spain.

Sunday, November 5 – Day off – Soweto Tour

Guide Sam from the hostel was in his 40’s, very jovial and worked hard to keep us on schedule.

Our tour began and it looked like we would be only 4 of us. During our drive, we had a call and it turned out we had to pick up 6 more. On the way to pick up the 6, it turned out we had to pick up 8. Therefore, we had to move into an even larger vehicle. We were very delayed in starting, as we had to wait for an ever increasingly larger vehicle.

There was a lovely couple from England doing a year away, Eve and Antosh and we exchanged ideas on places to visit and where to stay in London.

Highlights of JoBurg – drove into the city proper, saw some historical buildings and the Mandela Bridge. Frankly, this is the part of the tour that I was the least excited about and that it went quickly, I was fine with that. The city is surrounded by former gold mines so there are huge piles of sand. Although some of the mines still have gold, they are no longer allowed to blast, as they are concerned about the stability of the tall buildings in JoBurg.

Soweto – (The South Western Townships) home to about 4 million is actually 61 different townships with 4-5 different levels of housing - informal settlement, original building form the 50’s, hostels, civil servants housing, Beverly hills. Some of the neighborhoods looked like what we would find in the US in the suburbs.

We only had 15 minutes of a stroll into one of the informal settlements with a guide, Sydney who has lived there in for 11 years. They recently added taps in the area and chemical toilets. They do not have electricity and cook on Parafin stoves and use candles for light.

Hector Pieterson Museum – June 16, 1976, Hector Pieterson was the first casualty in the student’s peaceful demonstration against having Afrikaans as the official language in schools for all secondary students. The museum was amazing and in combination with the Robben Island and Township tour, helped to understand the apartheid era. As our time was so limited as we started the tour so late, I bought books at most of the museums in order to fill in the gaps.

Noble Prizewinners street- The former house of Nelson Mandela is now a museum (which we did not have time to visit) is on the same street where the intersection where Hector Pieterson was killed. Just down the road, is also the huge house of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Someone asked why as they were black and living in Soweto, why did they have walls around their houses and alarm systems. Sam indicated that before democracy, although Tutu was never arrested or charged, he was highly controversial and he did what he had to to keep his family safe.

Lunch – Nado’s chicken – took a long time, but it was good. I had a sweet peri peri chicken wrap.

Apartheid Museum – Another amazing museum that was very powerful. One pictorial section based on a photographers book the House of Bondage, was especially thought provoking. The book was not available in the bookstore, but I will try and find it once I get home. The most compelling display was the one after Apartheid that showed the first election and the determination on people’s faces to cast their ballots. Put’s the US election percentages to shame.
Again, the most amazing fact that has come out of the evolution from Apartheid and before the democracy is that there was no recrimination, no revenge on the white South Africans. F.W. DeClerk (sp?) , the PM that freed all the political prisoners and negotiated with Mandela for the end of Apartheid, wanted to hand him the reins when he was elected. Mandela said that DeClerk would train him and he ended up with DeClerk as one of his two deputy presidents. The more I learn about Mandela, the more amazing I find him.

Botha, who was the PM during the Apartheid era, died this week so the flags were flying at half-mast. The article in the paper said that the Monster is Dead.

I got back to the hostel at 5:00 pm and had been told that there was a braii for the ItoI volunteers at 7:00pm. As I arrived, I was told that I had missed orientation. I had never had an ItoI orientation at my other placements, so I looked around to see if they could fill me in.

We leave tomorrow at 10:00. I went to bed and set the alarm for 8:00. The power kept going off in the mansion and I suspected that my computer might be overloading the system. I unplugged it, and the power continued to fluctuate.

Posted by ladyjanes 04:39 Archived in South Africa Tagged postcards Comments (0)

Entry 29F - Sixth week with the Penguins

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Entry # 29 F –Sixth week with the Penguins

Monday, October 30

VIBES CARD – Be Flexible.

I was supervisor of pen 8 with 110 birds. During our first tubing session, I noticed that there were some penguins with new feathers, but when you touched them, all the new feathers came off in your hand. I told Nola about them and she said that they would be cold and suggested that we bring the worst ones up to ICU for care. There are now 7 or 8 baldies in a pen in ICU. Hopefully, with quieter and warmer conditions, their new feathers will come back.

There were lots of opportunities to practice flexibility today. As we were walking out the door to rain, our guesthouse mate asked if we wanted a ride to work. YES! As I got to every hose, the sprayer mechanism was missing. Most of the people that I had assigned to help in the pen had their own ideas about how things should be done. We had to completely clean pen 8 as it had not been done in a while and we had 6 pens of birds to work around. The fish was not thawed at the time that morning feeding was supposed to begin. As we got to the afternoon fish feeding, most of the fish had been taken leaving some pens with none.

There was a huge delivery of fish today that will help. Even though we take daily counts of how many boxes we used yesterday, it is still more of an art than a science. Some boxes yield fish that is way too soft or too damaged to feed. As the birds get healthier, they eat more (a good thing for them, just hard to calculate how much each pen will eat on a given day).

The weekly schedule (which changes daily according to the number of birds, volunteers, staff, etc) is;

Monday – grade, bleed and weigh the pens. During this chick time, the team is getting through about 2 -3 pens (of the 6 major pens) on Monday.

Tuesday – normally a release day. – Normal duties including cleaning the extra pens of other birds.

Wednesday – alternate release day if Tuesday had bad weather. – Normal duties.

Thursday – second day a week to grade, bleed and weigh if needed. During chick time, the team tries to get to the pens that were not bled on Monday.

Friday – normal duties.

Saturday & Sunday– unless it is chick time, these days are considered lighter. Normally only one staff person is on duty, another on call and the volunteers simply do feeding, treatments and cleaning of their pens, no extra duties. It is a time to catch up on mats if we are behind, but generally, it is pretty light.

The Daily schedule – which again changes according to pen number, (age, weight and condition of the birds) and day of the week.

8:00 - meeting and assignments are put on the board

8:15 – begin morning treatments – usually darrows for the group – 30 to 45 minutes before the birds can have any other treatment.

9:00 – clean the pen – if you have a swimming pool, you may also have to clean that or help get the fish ready.

10:00 - fish feeding – One hour after the last one is fed until they can swim or have any other treatment

11:00 – clean or general maintenance

Noon – additional medical treatments as needed or same as 11:00

1:00 – lunch?? And get fish ready

2:00 – afternoon fish feeding

3:00 - see 11 am

4:00 - final fluids and medical treatments

5:00 - home?

All this can change when you have three sets of fluids and two feeds.

Tuesday, October 31

VIBES CARD – Share a Breath

Pen 7 with Senta as supervisor. We have had teams of helpers from Nature Conservation to help with the birds. Some have experience with feeding and tubbing, but most do not. Raymond is one that can help with feeding. I spent some time being plugged in with him today but had a breakthrough and realize, just because it isn’t my way, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work or get done on time.

Birds were very hungry and for the am feed, we had tiny fish in comparison that what we normally have. I called them minnows, but they weren’t really that small, it just took 2-3 three of them to make up a decent size fish. We are trying to limit fish in the am to only 4, as if we fill them up, they have two sets of fluids on top of that and they tend to start regurging. Even so, if I had a starving one in front of me, they got extra fish.

In the afternoon when we fed, they were taking 7-8 normal size fish with no problems.
Nola had the opposite problems to our am-sized fish as she said she had whales to feed the baldies in ICU.

Bleeding with Nola and Vanessa and a whole new batch of bites, bruises, nips and scratches from the little tykes!

Helped hold for water treatment for a cape gull (felt like a feather) and a cormorant (even smaller and lighter). Someone else put the tube down the throat. I didn’t feel up to holding and tubing for the first time. I learned something as I worked with these other birds – birds that fly have hollow bones, birds that don’t have heavy bones. The penguins feel like ironing hams compared to the gull and cormorant that feel as light as marshmallows.

Ride home with Senta and then cab to my last massage – During the back massage, I inventoried the entire body, organs and joints and thanked them for their participation in this year.

French Facial with Marta that was fabulous and left me wonderfully drowsy. Was a cool evening so put on the winter pj’s and slept very well!

Wednesday, November 1 – My last day at SANCOOB – Release?

VIBES CARD – Seek Solitude

We knew the day before that there might not be enough volunteers who could feed and tube so that it would be a heavy work day for the rest of us.

I was assigned to assist Karen in Pen 1, 140 birds, most that needed medications in additions to the 5 daily handling. In addition, we had the 45 skinniest who are on 6 treatments a day instead of the usual 5.

Today offered me lots of breakdowns and breakthroughs in very short cycles including stop forcing issues and my opinions, by adjusting my position during struggles they ease up, what is wrong with someone else is a mirror of yourself (have a little patience, tolerance and generosity), and one that I still struggle with - when a person talks non-stop, does not pause for my response and therefore hands out the wrong medication, they are to be understood not judged and complained about.

There was a boat release today of 16 birds including #200 and the gannet. This would allow more room in one of the pens that has access to the pool. The team is trying to get birds into these pens as soon as possible as that means they are more mature and it cuts down on the number of fluids that they need on a daily basis. Any reduction in the number of times they have to be caught and handled is always a good sign.

Late in the afternoon, I was passing pen 10 with the smaller pool and got to see the Penguin parade as they made their way into the pool that was being filled. Very cute as they stood in the low water waiting for it to get high enough for them to swim. They were so cute, I went for my camera and got to them on video. Film at 11

I rushed around saying goodbye and ran home to shower and catch a cab to the Africa Café for dinner with Nicole. It offered dishes from all over Africa. After you had sampled the entire menu, you were allowed to request as much as you wanted from any dish that you especially liked. We were both so full from our samples that we only asked for more bread, dip, appetizers and spinach. We ate so much that we sat feeling like ticks as we watched the drumming and singing. It was a wonderful way to celebrate my last day at SANCCOB and the final act of my time in Cape Town.

Thursday, November 2 – blog and do da day

I had thought I wanted to see a few more things in Cape Town, but by Monday of this week, I knew that I needed to back away from more on my list and take it easy for 2 days.

Slept in, doodled around and organized my stuff to get ready for packing. Will probably mail a few boxes home tomorrow. Had a lovely nap, and then joined Sasha and Theresa for a trip to the grocery store for supplies for our braai (bbq) tonight.

We began at 7:00 and I excused myself at 9:00, just as the karaoke machine was being fired up.

Friday, November 3 – Pack, packages to mail, voted, lunch and dinner desert out

More packing today and off to the Postnet to send off my boxes. When she totaled all my boxes, it was over $800 in courier charges. They could not go cheaper from this location. I opted to take the largest ones to the P.O. After another taxi ride with my boxes, I finally got them sent for only $225.

Walked through the grocery store to buy goodies for the workers at SANCCOB and stopped at work to get a few last photos. I few more hugs and goodbyes and then off to lunch with Nicole.

My ballot was delivered today via FedEx thanks to Karen Stickland and I voted and called for a pick up within 1 hour.

The rest of the day was packing, blogging and dessert and coffee with friends from work.

Saturday, November 4 – Fly to JoBurg

Raining as we drove to the airport.

No problems on the flight – full flight 2 hours

Picked up by the Pretoria Backpackers for a 35-minute drive. Hostel is in an old mansion. I had thought that I would begin at the park on Sunday, but I was told that I would be picked up on Monday. With a day off, I investigated the two tours I was interested in – Soweto or the Cradle of Humanity – a paleontology site in the Northern suburbs. Only the Soweto tour was going, so I signed up. I had the afternoon to explore so I got the local map and found that the art museum was only three blocks away. I had been told that Pretoria was safe enough during the day, but not a night. I knew that I would be home in time as I was still pooped.

The art museum was very good. I went to the local shop and picked up some snacks and stuff for a light dinner and finished reading the Shadow of the Wind. It was excellent. I can’t wait to discuss it with the book group in Spain.

Sunday, November 5 – Day off – Soweto Tour

Guide Sam from the hostel was in his 40’s, very jovial and worked hard to keep us on schedule.

Our tour began and it looked like we would be only 4 of us. During our drive, we had a call and it turned out we had to pick up 6 more. On the way to pick up the 6, it turned out we had to pick up 8. Therefore, we had to move into an even larger vehicle. We were very delayed in starting, as we had to wait for an ever increasingly larger vehicle.

There was a lovely couple from England doing a year away, Eve and Antosh and we exchanged ideas on places to visit and where to stay in London.

Highlights of JoBurg – drove into the city proper, saw some historical buildings and the Mandela Bridge. Frankly, this is the part of the tour that I was the least excited about and that it went quickly, I was fine with that. The city is surrounded by former gold mines so there are huge piles of sand. Although some of the mines still have gold, they are no longer allowed to blast, as they are concerned about the stability of the tall buildings in JoBurg.

Soweto – (The South Western Townships) home to about 4 million is actually 61 different townships with 4-5 different levels of housing - informal settlement, original building form the 50’s, hostels, civil servants housing, Beverly hills. Some of the neighborhoods looked like what we would find in the US in the suburbs.

We only had 15 minutes of a stroll into one of the informal settlements with a guide, Sydney who has lived there in for 11 years. They recently added taps in the area and chemical toilets. They do not have electricity and cook on Parafin stoves and use candles for light.

Hector Pieterson Museum – June 16, 1976, Hector Pieterson was the first casualty in the student’s peaceful demonstration against having Afrikaans as the official language in schools for all secondary students. The museum was amazing and in combination with the Robben Island and Township tour, helped to understand the apartheid era. As our time was so limited as we started the tour so late, I bought books at most of the museums in order to fill in the gaps.

Noble Prizewinners street- The former house of Nelson Mandela is now a museum (which we did not have time to visit) is on the same street where the intersection where Hector Pieterson was killed. Just down the road, is also the huge house of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Someone asked why as they were black and living in Soweto, why did they have walls around their houses and alarm systems. Sam indicated that before democracy, although Tutu was never arrested or charged, he was highly controversial and he did what he had to to keep his family safe.

Lunch – Nado’s chicken – took a long time, but it was good. I had a sweet peri peri chicken wrap.

Apartheid Museum – Another amazing museum that was very powerful. One pictorial section based on a photographers book the House of Bondage, was especially thought provoking. The book was not available in the bookstore, but I will try and find it once I get home. The most compelling display was the one after Apartheid that showed the first election and the determination on people’s faces to cast their ballots. Put’s the US election percentages to shame.
Again, the most amazing fact that has come out of the evolution from Apartheid and before the democracy is that there was no recrimination, no revenge on the white South Africans. F.W. DeClerk (sp?) , the PM that freed all the political prisoners and negotiated with Mandela for the end of Apartheid, wanted to hand him the reins when he was elected. Mandela said that DeClerk would train him and he ended up with DeClerk as one of his two deputy presidents. The more I learn about Mandela, the more amazing I find him.

Botha, who was the PM during the Apartheid era, died this week so the flags were flying at half-mast. The article in the paper said that the Monster is Dead.

I got back to the hostel at 5:00 pm and had been told that there was a braii for the ItoI volunteers at 7:00pm. As I arrived, I was told that I had missed orientation. I had never had an ItoI orientation at my other placements, so I looked around to see if they could fill me in.

We leave tomorrow at 10:00. I went to bed and set the alarm for 8:00. The power kept going off in the mansion and I suspected that my computer might be overloading the system. I unplugged it, and the power continued to fluctuate.

Posted by ladyjanes 04:39 Archived in South Africa Tagged postcards Comments (0)

Entry 29E - Fifth week with the Penguins

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Entry # 29 E –Fifth week with the Penguins

Monday, October 23 – Nadir of the trip

Challenging day for me full of make wrong on all sides, lots of tears and bad feelings within me and a true understanding how I created this day for me to learn my lessons.

I WILL NEVER AGAIN BOOK PLACEMENTS SO CLOSE TOGETHER WITHOUT AT LEAST ONE WEEK OFF IN BETWEEN! EVER EVER EVER!!!!!

We arrived at work to find that there was NO FISH for the birds until the afternoon. The babies are really getting hungry and are tolerating their fluids but are really enjoying their fish, even the smallest babies. I was assigned to assist Priscilla from the staff with pen 8 – 118 birds that arrived only two days ago. (READ THIS TO MEAN that they are still very wild, stress easily, and are not comfortable with the routine yet.) Two days ago, I was amazed how much I was enjoying tubing. Yesterday, it reversed and I really enjoyed feeding. Today, I was just trying to keep my balance and prayed a lot during my time with the birds for guidance and assistance.

When I got the gentle assistance about changing my position, in my second pen, things flowed easier, although the birds were still stressed. I knew that my stress was aggravating the situation with the birds, and I was trying not to have it affect the birds, but every time they struggled and ended up throwing up fluids, I kept thinking here was another bird that would need extended treatment because of fluid in the lungs and I caused it. I also kept thinking about the bird that had died right after I had handled it. (I KNOW I KNOW! WHAT A DRAMA QUEEN I AM BEING TODAY). I do realize it, but I also know that I need to get this down in writing in order to see all the lessons. If this is boring to you, please move to Tuesday, Oct 24.

Priscilla had been off for two days and procedures had shifted since she last worked. She asked for new mats in all the pens, even though we were not using them all. This seemed like a waste of mats that would not be used. We had been cleaning the pens only once each day as we are still trying to get into a system with all the pens. Priscilla wanted the birds moved back a forth so that things could be sprayed several times. On other days with more help, not a problem, but today with limited staff that could feed and a very off time schedule, this really balled up the program. (Looking back, I realized that I did not in a constructive way tell her about how things had gone while she was away. I did not feel it was my place to insert my opinion when she was the professional and has been working there for several years.)

I find her to be a woman who is used to working on her own and I get the impression that at times she is not included in all the decisions made at the center. Her communications skills are a little confusing to follow and I found that even when I would tell her that I had done things, we would still have several discussions about it. I finally spoke to the universe out loud this afternoon that I felt that no body was listening to me today. (I guess it makes sense, I wasn’t listening or hearing my guides and people were listening to me. HMMMM)

I had planned to speak to Carole, the volunteer coordinator, about shifting my schedule so that I could have Friday off with Nicole and also that I intended to stop working several days earlier than she had me scheduled. The Friday off was not that much of a problem because I offered work on Monday that is a busier scheduled day. She balked completely at me leaving early as she indicated that would not be fair to the other international volunteers. (This was such an unexpected statement that I had no comeback. After the fact I realized that I felt that this was an unfair statement to make to me as my placement is independent of any other volunteer).

When I indicated that while I wanted to help and be effective, the current workload is too much for me physically and mentally and that I am at the breaking point. I told her that if things did not ease up, that while I would like to work, I would quit before I broke. She offered to have me on abbreviated schedules my final days where I would not be in charge of a pen, just a floating assistant. I still negotiated for my final two days that I was supposed to work as off. That way I will have three days before I go to the lion placement.

Carole also said that is was up to me to take care of myself. (I thought that was what I was doing by ending work a little early.) I am to take full hours for lunch and take walks around the block. I agreed that it is my responsibility to take care of myself. I ended the session still feeling out of sorts (not the way to bring out the best in me) and agreed to the schedule as it stands. If I find that is still does not work for me, I will let her know and if there is still an issue, I will simply quit. Not very powerful way to end, but if I feel I must I will.

By the end of the day, my tubing and feeding was much better, I offered my services to other pens that needed help and felt okay with it.

Priscilla asked me to work on getting the little mosquito machines organized for our 4 new pens. There are no electrical outlets near our pen that means that we are running multiple extension cords for our four machines. I needed to ask Carole of an additional cord and had to get on with the final fluids of the day, so Carole evaluated my system. She indicated that two machines should be sufficient so that the existing cords would be fine. More power loss that I had been unable to complete another task assigned today.

By the time we finished with the final fluids, it was after 6pm. We still had the syringes to the clean and the darrows to make for tomorrow morning. I stood there making fluid and feeling sorry for myself and left right at 7pm and cried all the way home. I had a good cry session with Nicole who gave me a hug and I ended up feeling much better again until I started typing this.

LESSON – I am still really tired and this work continues to drain me when I work too many days back to back. I could have saved myself this day of breakdown by speaking up earlier about this situation.

I have the feeling that I am heading for a major breakthrough because I feel that I had a total break down today, in the LM meaning of the word break down. My energy feels erratic and fractured, my intentions not very well grounded and my outlook vaguely victimistic. Today feels like a totally 5th sensory day that frustrates me tremendously. WHEN AM I GOING TO GET IT?????? Where is the peace? Where is the calmness? Where is the serenity that I crave?????

I felt so totally alone today and even though I know that there are legions of guides on the other side that I suspected were all shouting assistance, that I was unable to hear them. I haven’t felt that alone for along time.

Tuesday, October 24

I slept well and woke determined that today would be a better day. I was still tired so I decided to dance slowly through this day instead of my traditional march.

I was pleased to be put in charge of the staging station in the wash bay today. It was a very nice break from working with the birds and I think it went really well. People were very complimentary about how everything flowed, which made me feel good.

I thanked Carole for shifting my schedule so that I could work a little lighter today. It turned out that the back was equally physically taxing, just not as mentally exhausting as the birds. Maybe I will have another day like this before I go.

I woke up in a cold sweat at 3am this morning when I remembered that I had forgotten to prepare the 3 fish that Nola asked for her ICU babies. Sigh!

Wednesday, October 25 – OFF!

Doodle day – Breakfast at the Flamingo Café – lovely egg and cheese panini, walked to Bayside and drank coffee and did a little shopping and then finished the book Island in Chains about Robben Island.

I saw Priscilla in the mall just after 4pm and she said that they had just begun feeding. I wondered if I should pop my head in and see if they needed help, but muscle testing said no.

I went home and organized things that had been piling up and had a restful evening.

Thursday, October 26

In charge of Pen 7 - 109 birds, but 20 were moved my Nola after first fluids – seemed to work really well. Fluids and feeding not much of a problem today as the birds for the most part have settled down, except one little guy, 1083 during second feed. He ended up in the skinnies pen for additional feeds and formula.

Heard today that we have lost 6 so far. As Nola is hoping for at least 70% survival, we are in good shape.

The staff moved some of the larger blues into pen 10 so that they could have access to water. They were very cute for their first swim and did really well.

Pen 2 was graded today and many of them are in good shape. It looks like there may be a release next week after all. I went ahead and formally adopted 364, even though he has been released and sweet #200, who is still in pen 2.

I am thinking about asking for pen 2 for my final day if #200 is still there so that I can spend some time with him. I started there, and it would be nice to complete the cycle and end in that pen. We will see how I feel and what is needed on my last day.

Friday, October 27 – OFF – sightseeing with Nicole – Castle, Cable Car, Tea

Up and on the bus into town for a mere $1. The trip took 1.5 hours as there is a minivan strike going on. Traffic was heavier than usual.

We began our day at the Castle of Good Hope which the only time it might have had to fire it’s cannons in defense of the peninsula, had them aligned in the wrong direction. That being said, the only cannon they have ever fired is the signal guns that sent messages up and down the peninsula. Interesting.

Next we boarded the double decker sight seeing bus to get to the cable car station. Hot and sunny, we sat up top and I kept applying sunscreen to Nicole’s back and neck. We had a 30-minute queue and line to ride with 65 other people to the top of Table Mountain. Our four-minute trip was wonderful and the cable care makes a 360 rotation during the ride so that every one gets to see all the views. We walked around the top and tried to see the Dassie (a small rodent looking animal) that is the closest genetic relative to the modern African Elephant. No luck as we were there between noon and two with lots of screeching children. Our ride down seemed faster than 4 minutes and I took a not so great movie of the experience.

Back on the bus to complete the loop and end up back at the waterfront. I wanted to take a picture of Nobel Square, where there are statues of the 4 recipients of Nobel prizes for South Africa, Mandela, Tutu, De Clerk and ????. Then I had asked Nicole to purchase additional Mandela postcards from Robben Island, but I ended up with the wrong ones. They were fine about the exchange.

Nicole has suggested tea at the Mount Nelson Hotel that is known for it’s marvelous afternoon high tea. We arrived by taxi to a very swank hotel and enjoyed a wonderful 1.5 hours of egg salad, cucumber, salmon and ham sandwiched, marvelous cakes and pastries and wonderful desserts. A lovely ending to our day out.

Home to shower and rest before I start my final 5 days of work with the little guys in tuxedos. I hope to work in Pen 2 before Tuesday in case there is a release as I would like to work with #200 again and see #414 before he goes back to sea. Most of them graded well yesterday, so if there are enough of them to warrant a boat release, it may happen on Tuesday. Maybe I will get to go on the release again.

Saturday, October 28

FLEWWWWWWW! What a long day! I was backstage again and by 11am I knew that we were in for a long day. We had a lot of old volunteers returning after many years that meant while they understood the concept, they were a little slow in the delivery. When the syringes from the 12:00 o’clock water didn’t come back to me until 1:30, I knew that our afternoon was shot.

I ended up not taking lunch and after the first pangs of hunger at about 1pm, my stomach settled down for me. Not that big of a problem, but I was glad that I wasn’t working with the birds. I would definitely have had to stop to eat if I had been working with the tuxedos.

Nicole was in pen 1 – the skinniest and smallest babies that needed 7 treatments over 12 hours. Poor Nicole was the only feeder assigned in the afternoon and at one point, she passed me in tears saying that her kids weren’t eating and that she was stressed.

In the afternoon we had lots of new volunteers, who wanted to help so that we put them on sorting fish and helping with syringes.

Nicole and I left at 6:45. I didn’t want to cook so I ordered 2 large pizzas and I have three lunches as well as dinner tonight.

I will make it an early evening and see what tomorrow brings.

Sunday, October 29

Nicole and I reversed today in that I was supervisor of pen 1 and she was backstage. Liz was my right hand person in the morning with Sandy as our general helper. In the afternoon, Liz stayed until 3pm and we added Maggie and another volunteer as our general helper. We counted all the birds and kept missing one. We finally ended up with 72 birds, most which needed medication at least once a day. Not too hard of a day and luckily, Glenda from pen 2 helped us in the morning when cleaning is an issue. Wastewater from pen 1 runs straight through pen 2, so it is useless to clean pen 2 before pen 1 has been completed.

I actually at 30 minutes for lunch and I think Nicole had lots of help and did a wonderful job in the prep area. We still left at 6:45, but Nicole discussed with Heather and Zita that we change off who stays late and helps with syringes. When Lunel stays late, Zita and Heather will stay late for syringes, when she is off, Nicole and I will stay late and help.

We ended with dinner in and Nanny McPhee on the video.

A good day.

Posted by ladyjanes 04:36 Archived in South Africa Tagged postcards Comments (0)

Entry 29D - Fourth week with the Penguins

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Entry # 29 D –Fourth week with the Penguins

Monday, October 16 – Wine Tour

When asked, Nicole and I selected the tour that was classified as the fun tour for our wine land adventure. A large, gregarious Afrikaans man named Stefan was our tour leader and said that our lunch would be bread and water. If we were lucky, we would also be given butter. (This should have been my first clue!). He had 6 different CD sleeves full of disks that he kept changing and entertained us with dancing while driving before we had made it out of the neighborhood.

We loaded into a minivan that had a young couple from Norway in the far back, Nicole and I in the middle and the driver and a silent woman partner in the front. Okay, it was going to be a very small tour. As we were driving towards Cape Town, Stefan received two phone calls that two other sets of people were to be picked up. Not sure where we were going to put them. Before we got to town, Stefan regaled us with poor jokes and had grabbed my knee three times. I was becoming not amused at him by this time. In town, we ended up picking up three young British boys and Stefan said that it would only be for a short time in this configuration and we would pick up another vehicle.

I ended up between the middle bucket seats in the aisle, one of the new guys crammed into the back seat with the Norwegians, and in the front seat, the silent woman sat on the lap of one of the boys. He was not complaining.

We went to the Durban Hills Winery, a large farm with an excellent view. They had the full compliment of wines and we began with the whites. After the first wine, Stefan came by and poked me in the ribs, at which point I asked him to please not touch me again. He apologized at this point and was hands off from the rest of the trip.

Nicole and I decided that as we were stopping at 4 wineries, that if we found something we liked at each winery, we would alternately buy a bottle. I chose our first wine that we tasted which was a Sav Blanc that was nice and dry. The young Norwegian boy had a sticker under his glass, so he received a free bottle from the winery. We crammed back into the van, Nicole and I were in the far back seat for this stretch, and off we went to pick up the other vehicle. Nicole and I agreed that we would prefer the other driver and decided to change vehicles when the opportunity arose. As we arrived to pick up the other car, Stefan told the three boys and the Norwegian couple to get in the other car, which left Nicole and I with Stefan. (Not what I had originally hoped for, but it turned out to be the best for Nicole and I).

We had to drive into Stellenboch to pick up the remaining couple, and it is the second oldest settlement in the Cape Region and the home of one of the few Afrikaans University. It was originally a farm for the first governor who did a really good job establishing Cape Town. Quaint and neat, it looked lovely and very much a college town with cafes and little shops. The final couple was a pair of students, a Japanese girl and a Belgium man, who did not sit together but were a couple. We met the other car at the second winery, Simonsig (again named after the first governor), which specialized in Champagne.

It had the look of an old established winery and the rose brut champagne we tasted was lovely. Nicole bought a bottle. I ended up buying a red (I know, surprise! As I normally only drink whites). I noticed that all of the wine farms also had magnificent stands of roses, so I stopped for a photo.

PHOTO – Jane and roses

It is not uncommon for you to see a rose bush at the end of every row of vines. Stefan said that because they in the same family as the grape vines and therefore, if a pest was beginning to infect the vines, it would show up in the roses first. The technology is so advanced now that they don’t need the roses for that purpose, but they are still planted for tradition. I never knew that fact!

Our Japanese woman was not handling her wine very well, was not feeling great and hung her head out of the window the entire way to the our lunch stop. Lunch was at another winery and we given a plate with some type of pulled meat, rice, mixed veg, pumpkin and a small salad. The meat turned out to be what Stefan called venison, and it was Springbuck. I tried a little of it, and while it did not taste too bad, I was not up for game meat for lunch, especially not very cute game meat.

Back in the van for our third tasting of the day at a family run establishment that had a large barnyard full of animals to admire. One pen offered huge land tortoises (some attempting to increase the number in the pen), chickens and goats, while the other pen had lots of ducks, wallabys (that were in hiding) and two adorable potbellied pigs. Across the pasture were miniature donkeys, and the farm also had a large selection of dogs including Great Danes, Staffies and a very old but very cute dachshund. As they only offered one white variety, there was nothing at this farm that we felt we needed. By this stage of the tour, the Norwegian and British compliment were swilling down every last drop of their glasses, and getting louder and sillier with each glass. Once again, the universe knew better than I did and fixed the cars so that we were not traveling with them.

Our last winery was a wine group that offered 7 different labels out of one tasting room. They had a lovely looking restaurant and I wished at this point, that I had by own car so that I could return on another day. I bought another white and Nicole found a rose she liked.
See what I know now section at the bottom of this week. The younger set were out of control by this time and were singing loudly to the music, breaking wine glasses and spilling (or pouring) wine over each other. As this was our last winery, this would be our final drive and Nicole and I and the Japanese/Belgium couple went with Stefan in the other car and the silent partner got the rowdy 5.

It turned out to be a better day than it looked to be in the beginning and I am glad that I went. The weather had been very windy in Cape Town, but as we were farther north and away from the coast, our day was sunny, cool and very pleasant.


Tuesday, October 17 – Peninsula Tour

I had an 8am call for this tour and I was really looking forward to this tour, seeing the Cape of Good Hope and the penguins in the wild. The wind was fierce and I knew that it would be a blustery day. I took along my fleece and my fleece penguin cap from NZ.

Imma (pronounced Emma) was right on time and I found that I could not get the front door open. The security system had a two handed mechanism where you have to turn one knob and then release the door with other hand. My hands and wrists are still fatigued, but luckily Sasha was home and could help be get out the door. Imma was a charming Afrikaans woman who has been leading tours for 12 years. We had three other people to pick up in Cape Town so we chatted happily until we got there. My tour mates were the cutest three German seniors in their 80’s, a brother and sister and the brother’s spouse. Imma had not problem doing the tour in two languages and I picked up a fair bit of the second commentary when she explained it again in German.

We got out at our first look out in search of whales and the wind was so strong, it knocked my over on my butt. The picture gives you an idea of the strength of the wind.

PHOTO – wind.

During my trip, I had a chance at informal language lessons in German and Afrikaans. I know now that Shurn(sp?) means nice in German and the same word in Afrikaans is Moya.

As we rounded the corner on our coastal road, there were a long line of cars pulled over, a sure sign of whales. Sure enough, there were 4 of them in plain view and one of them was very close to the shore. Imma said that means that they had young with them. I had forgotten my binoculars, so I didn’t get a very good look, but I could definitely tell that there were some flippers and tails in the air, waving as me, I am sure.

As we had stopped to view the whales, we overlooked some houses with charming thatched roofs. Wonderful to look at and very interesting, and Imma said cost 3X the normal insurance if you have one of your house.

As we moved closer to the Capes, we entered the new Table Mountain National Park area. There are still some private holdings on the land and one was an ostrich farm. We stopped and said hello to Gertrude and Herman, a breeding pair. I fed grass to Gertrude and got to see up close her lovely eyelashes. There is a picture of me feeding Gertrude and it reminds me of the one of Annie when we went to Tidbinbilla in Australia when I was young and she fed the Emus. Before we left, a male in the next pen did a lovely courtship dance with a lovely display of his wings. It was wonderful to get to see them up close, even though they weren’t in the wild. They are still on my list to see in natural habitat.

Photogene and Gertrude

We entered the portion of the part going to the Capes and there was lots of signage warning us about the baboons and how they are attracted by food. CARE had told us that any time a baboon begins to eat human food and becomes to depend on it, it is a death sentence for the animal. Sooner or later, the baboon will overstep the boundary and they will be shot, as they will then be classified as a menace.

As we entered the part, Imma said that there was a good chance for us to also see zebra, eland and bushbuck. We kept our eyes peeled.

The tour would end up showing us two Capes in Africa; Cape Point, the southern most part of Africa and the Cape of Good Hope, which is the most southwestern part of Africa. The one thing that we would not see was Cape Angules, the place where the Indian and the Atlantic oceans really meet! (Poop!)

As we got to the Cape Point, we rode the funicular rail up to hill. Then we climbed the 120 steps to the top lighthouse on the point. It was determined after a boat called the Lusitania broke up on the Bellow Rocks, that clouds could easily obscure the light from this lighthouse on the hill. So, they erected another one at the base of the rock. I did get lovely views of both Capes from the lighthouse, but you had to hold on to your hat and camera, as the winds were still very strong.

We had lunch at Simonstown before we went to Boulders Beach to see the penguin colony. I had a wonderful lunch of fresh kingklip fish. My mission from Ditte was to find the key chains made out of beads in the shape of penguins. I had to search three different stores, but I finally found them.

Boulders Beach colony – all the adults are molting which could mean a lot of abandoned chicks (not really abandoned, but chicks that have no one to feed them as the adults do not fish during the month long molt) Very cute, Quen posed with his distant cousins.

PHOTO – QUEN PLUS COUSINS

A surprise on the tour for me was a stop at the wonderful botanic gardens called Kirstenbach Gardens. In the shadow of Table Mountain, these gardens were gifted to South Africa when the Englishman who owned the land died without spouse of children. It runs with only 10 staff and 200 volunteers and was wonderful. The Proteas where one of the main drawing cards and I saw lots of them. To my additional joy, there was Zimbabwe sculpture exhibit on the grounds, similar to the one that was in Denver several years ago. I really would love to have one of those stone sculptures, but until I have a garden to do it justice, I will hold off.

We left the gardens but not before we had a mongoose sighting and Imma and I fed the helmeted guinea fowl. Imma started with just one hen, and then another joined her. Before long, another one came running to her followed quickly by a fourth. Before we knew it, another trio saw the food and hotfooted it over to her. They were lovely and they really liked the peanuts she had brought.

PHOTO – Jane and guinea fowl

I thoroughly enjoyed this trip and would love to come back and do it again. Next time, I will bring my own car so that I can spend more time in some areas.

Today was Ditte’s last day at SANCCOB, so we met at Castello’s for pizza. I forgot the key chains and will have to send them to Ditte via Zita!

I heard all during dinner and from Nicole that the center is expecting the intake of 350 abandoned chick from Dyer Island. Our days will become very busy from now on.

Wednesday, October 18 – left with only 23, returned with over 400!

Since my last visit to SANCCOB, there was in influx of over 400 penguin chicks. With the parents in an earlier-than-normal molt, the chicks were essentially abandoned to feed themselves, which they did not have the knowledge to do. Over 400 chicks between 4-11 weeks of age were rescued from Dyer Island. Had they not been taken from the island, they would have died, as the parents during a molt do not swim and fish, as they are no longer waterproof. The adults live off their fat for the month, but the chicks could not fend for themselves.

I arrived to be assigned a pen with 40 chicks with Jennie, who had helped me so much as I began at the center. They are very sweet looking, all downy with some new feathers emerging, but mainly little bits of down here and there. As our pen was already divided into two pens with different ages, we had to come up with a way to further divide the pen so that we could sort out who had been fed and who had not. The regime for the day would be Darrows at 8 and 4, water at noon and three fish at each feeding at 10 and 3. They were not very glad to see us and did a lot of open mouth breathing to show us how stressed they were. Once we got the first fish into them (which was amazing enough as they were being asked to eat whole fish by the vet), they caught on pretty quickly and were swallowing by themselves. By the time we fed them in the afternoon, they were doing even better and the wiggling had calmed down considerably.

It was a very hot day and Jennie and I were dripping with sweat even though we were under shade. When you are in oilskins and arm protectors of neoprene, it gets a little hot!

It was a good day, even with only a short 15-minute lunch. I spoke a lot to Francis who has a special affinity with birds and I could tell that he was very present with us today. The birds upon intake yesterday were only dewormed. Monday, they will be blood tested and I would expect that there might be shuffling of the pens, as various ones may need medication. They won’t be able to swim until they finish their molt, so we still only have one pen that is swimming. I don’t think I will still be here when they begin to swim and it will be amazing to see how they will manage to get 400 birds to swim several times a day.

They were not able to release the small number of birds yesterday, as the seas were so rough. Today when the sea was calm, the center was too busy and could not arrange for a driver. Hopefully, they can release tomorrow, as there will not a be release next week. I have asked for 364’s armband that I intend to put on my new stuffed penguin from South Africa. Quen will still always be first in my heart, but I must admit that I will always remember 364 and his love bites, bruises, nips. I hope that I get a chance to feed him one last time before he goes back to sea. Maybe tomorrow.

Tomorrow, I work again, but Friday I am off and will go to Robben Island. I am looking forward to it

Thursday, October 19

Same as yesterday with the same amount of work and also cleaning the pens. Needless to say, with the added work, we were behind schedule. We were still going strong at 6pm, but I had to leave for my massage. I had called to see if it was possible for me to arrive a little late, but she had a client right behind me, so I hurried and made it within 5 minutes of my appointment.

My massage was fabulous! I stared with a quick shower, (as I had to come directly from work which had been hot and full of fish), a half leg wax and then a half hour massage. As Marta was working down my back and arms, as she got to my right arm, the crystals were releasing and sending energy up my arms to the top of my head. It was wonderful. Almost simultaneously, my nose began to clog which I thought was just my normal massage nose clog. As we ended the massage, I was on my back relaxing for a half hour as she handled another client. All the time I lay there, my right hand especially, was pulsing like it was breathing or gasping for breath. It was wonderful to feel the energy and be able to acknowledge all the work that my hands have done over this entire year. I kissed each finger and palm and back and thanked them for their previous and ongoing support. My hands are finally awake!

As I got home from my massage, on my bed was a package from my friend Bette in NZ. Inside were my spare contact lenses that I had left with her and lovely NZ apricot bars! YAAAH!

Friday, October 20 – Robben Island Trip

It was a misty morning when I took a taxi in to town for my Robben Island Tour. Before that I went to the VAT tax refund office to understand their rules for receiving a refund of the taxes I paid on products in SA. I didn’t want a recurrence of my OZ experience. I can begin processing the paperwork 7 days prior to departure and must have the items with me at the airport. I will plan to mail them from the postnet just before I leave SA.

My cold was still present so I stopped at Kauai for an apple juice pick-me-up with honey and ginger. YUMMY!

As we boarded the boat to take us to Robben Island, still under overcast skies, we were told that the boats we would take were the same ones used to transport prisoners during the Apartheid years. I found out later that the boat that I took both ways, the Dias, was the one that the author of the book, Island in Chains, had taken to and from the island during his 10-year incarceration.

On the way to the island, I was in search of penguins as we had release them close to the island last week. We came across one, all along in the water. Then within 3 minutes, another lone penguin. This was a little worrisome to me as lone penguins are easy prey for predators. Finally, less than a minute later, there was a fishing party of about 15 penguins in a pod on the water. Hopefully, our two loners found their way back to the group.

As we docked on the island, the sunny had finally appeared and when we looked back at Table Mountain, it had a ruff of clouds midway down the mountain and the top was poking out.

PHOTO – Tmountain with clouds.

We loaded on to busses and our guides were Thado (from the Langa township that I visited) and our driver from Khayteshia Township. They were both very knowledgeable and excellent speaker and the driver gave us a very heartfelt thank you so all that the outside nations did for South Africa and the boycotts that helped end Apartheid in SA.

The island has been used as a prison since the 1600’s and during its time, had different prison complexes in use – the old prison, the convict prison, the political prisoner prison. During Apartheid, it only housed convicts and black political prisoners. Coloreds (Indian, Malay, etc) and female political prisoners were housed in high security prisons near Joburg. On the island, the political prisoners began arriving prior to the prison being built so that they were housed with convicts. The wardens tried to get the convicts and the coloreds to take sides against the black prisoners, (with better meals for the coloreds and convicts and better privileges) but what ended up happening is that most of the prisoners shared what little they had and it built more cohesion between the groups instead of separation.

One of the first stops on the bus tour was the limestone quarry where the black political prisoners worked 6 hours a day for 13.5 years reducing the limestone into gravel for the roads on the island. In 2005, 5 years after the release of all the prisoners (which happened in 2000), there was a reunion on the island at the quarry. Nelson Mandela after the ceremony took a stone away from the quarry and put it near the road. All 1000 people in attendance did the same and now there is a little pile of stones to symbolize that apartied is truly buried. They have all agreed that they will meet on the island every 5 years until the last of the survivors is dead to remember and commemorate their experience.

All of the tour guides on the island are former political prisoners who now live on the island in the former quarters that housed the prison guards and their families. Some of the guards have also returned and work at the museum. People are amazed that both sides can live in harmony, but they do. One of the main topics of his talk was how the authorities at the time assigned different diets to prisoners based on type of crime and ethnic background. The black and all political prisoners usually received the most meager diet called Diet B. See the chart to compare to the C diet of for colored prisoners. While neither is princely, the C diet is obviously greater.

We only had two hours on the island and this being our last stop, we felt a little rushed and would have liked more time to ask questions and go into the individual cells. Nicole who went on the tour after I did said that former inmates had left little messages on the walls of their cells which I wished I had been able to see and read. As they mentioned, the museum is in a constant state of improvement, and hopefully some day they will allow more time per tour.

It is hard to believe, but the feeling from the prisoners and in all the literature that I have read of seen, the prisoners do not have ill will again their jailers. As Nelson said, I am no anti-white, I am anti-white supremacy. As our tour guide later pointed out, they prisoner during their time knew that two wrongs would not make a right, and so they left their prison without much of the baggage that you might expect them to carry. Those that survived the prison left the island and most of them went on to lead productive and active political lives and helped to establish the government that is now SA.

On the way back from the island, I read An Island in Chains, written by Nairoo Indres who had been political prisoner for 10 years. We were on the actual ferry that had taken him to Robben Island in the early 60’s.

When I got back to the wharf, there were 4 African Fur Seals sunning themselves on the steps leading down to the water.

Photo – Fur Seals.

I treated myself to a wonderful shrimp salad and then went to the movie, An Inconvenient Truth. It is a documentary based on the slide show that Al Gore has shown around the world over 100 times. In my mind, it is a must see and clearly and emphatically describes global warming and this it is with us now and not something that will happen in the future. There had been several reviews in the local paper, most complimentary and one rather sour. It does appear as the Al Gore show, but his points about the science behind the existence of global warming are real and compelling.

Still had the slight head cold, which I later determined to be my body shifting energy after the massage from earlier in the week.

Saturday, October 21

I was the supervisor of pen 2, the largest birds, the gannet and also those with medication needs. 36 birds. With a knowledgeable volunteer for the morning and a person who had never been at the center as my general helper we began the day with fluids and medication. New for today, I was asked to give IM injection to a bird. I watch the first one and was ready for the second, but things were moving so fast that a staff member did the second injection for the day. At least I will be ready for the next time. I realized half way through the day that I don’t want to be in charge during my volunteer work. I did that a home and am not even sure that I wanted that.

Oh well, several old friend were still in the pen including 200, the little sweetie that I met last week, and 414 who is getting quite large and should be ready to go on the next release.

We were told first thing this morning that another 270 birds would be arriving today. So I spent some of my day helping Marlis construct temporary enclosures for our new guests. 401 plus 270 in this week and only 7 releases and two deaths (not at SANCCOB but at the nursery residence). With these statistics, we will soon be overrun. Hopefully, there will be a good number to release next week. Let’s hope we have the staff to make the release possible next week.
Marlis is also a baboon foster mommy, so we spent time speaking about our favorites and how much we enjoyed our time at CARE

I have only about a week left and I feel that when I leave, I will be ready and will remember my time at SANCCOB with fondness and appreciation for all that I have learned, both about the penguins and about myself.

Nicole and I opened our first bottle of wine tonight and shared a pizza. An early evening with the book and Kleenex for my nose.

Sunday, October 22

I started the morning with 6 band-aids on my right hand, a record up until today. We will see what the final count is at the end of the day. Our number had increased over night and now there are three new pens with chicks.

I supervised pen 3 today that held 74 birds with Zita as my main helper. Was a little plugged in as Zita was still not tubing the birds as of 8am this morning, so I had to do all of them. This did not help me or my birds, who were only taking about 30 mls of their 60 before they threw up. Nola said it was stress and that 30 mls if fine.

Nola, the vet, trained Zita on tubing at noon, so she was finally a fully trained volunteer. YAAH! Luckily, Heather when she had finished her 35 birds, she would swing by and help us, so it ended up being one pen of about 25 birds for each of us for each of the 5 fluids or feeding times. Thank you Heather.

As it was Sunday, we had tons of volunteers who had come for the day to help. Most of the plastic mats are well under control and are looking much better now that we have the center’s Wap machine back and functioning.

As there have been so many birds taken in lately and they kept running out of arm tags, today in pen 3, were did an inventory of our birds and who needed new or duplicate arm tags. Basically, all of them needed at least one. At the 4:00 fluids, we ended up with three teams working. Step one was to catch the bird and call out the number to the team. Step two, Team member would arrive with scissors and the required number of armbands and cut off the old one and put on the new ones. The clasp was rather tricky and hard on the fingers and the longer it took, the more they wriggled and dug their claws into the holder (me, Zita and Heather). Step three, darrows was administered. My guys again were pretty stressed and some ended up with just a little bit of darrows. Tomorrow will be better as they won’t need arm bands again.

Nicole and I walked to the store for some groceries and then home for dinner. Tomorrow I will ask Carole about shifting my schedule so that I can have one day off with Nicole to go up in the Cable Car to Table Mountain and I will also tell her that I am moving up my final day.

I am looking forward to my Wednesday off where I am not planning anything more exciting than taking myself out for breakfast, a possible movie, and laying outside on the marvelous bed with pillows and reading.

WHAT I KNOW NOW!

I have found lately that most of the tours I have been on involve couples, so having a traveling partner is a good way not to feel like a fifth wheel all the time.

The next time I am offered a choice between a serious and a fun tour, I need to ask a lot more questions. Fun tour can be a euphemism for filled with lots of 20 year olds. That might work on some trips, but not on others, I will most likely have a more pleasant time with people closer to my own age or outlook.

I have also found that I am now wanting to spend more time in places, or have the chance to go back later for a more in depth explore. A car is a definite must the next time I want to tour in South Africa. I will park it in big cities, but it sure makes side trips easier.

Posted by ladyjanes 04:34 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

Entry 29D - Fourth week with the Penguins

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Entry # 29 D –Fourth week with the Penguins

Monday, October 16 – Wine Tour

When asked, Nicole and I selected the tour that was classified as the fun tour for our wine land adventure. A large, gregarious Afrikaans man named Stefan was our tour leader and said that our lunch would be bread and water. If we were lucky, we would also be given butter. (This should have been my first clue!). He had 6 different CD sleeves full of disks that he kept changing and entertained us with dancing while driving before we had made it out of the neighborhood.

We loaded into a minivan that had a young couple from Norway in the far back, Nicole and I in the middle and the driver and a silent woman partner in the front. Okay, it was going to be a very small tour. As we were driving towards Cape Town, Stefan received two phone calls that two other sets of people were to be picked up. Not sure where we were going to put them. Before we got to town, Stefan regaled us with poor jokes and had grabbed my knee three times. I was becoming not amused at him by this time. In town, we ended up picking up three young British boys and Stefan said that it would only be for a short time in this configuration and we would pick up another vehicle.

I ended up between the middle bucket seats in the aisle, one of the new guys crammed into the back seat with the Norwegians, and in the front seat, the silent woman sat on the lap of one of the boys. He was not complaining.

We went to the Durban Hills Winery, a large farm with an excellent view. They had the full compliment of wines and we began with the whites. After the first wine, Stefan came by and poked me in the ribs, at which point I asked him to please not touch me again. He apologized at this point and was hands off from the rest of the trip.

Nicole and I decided that as we were stopping at 4 wineries, that if we found something we liked at each winery, we would alternately buy a bottle. I chose our first wine that we tasted which was a Sav Blanc that was nice and dry. The young Norwegian boy had a sticker under his glass, so he received a free bottle from the winery. We crammed back into the van, Nicole and I were in the far back seat for this stretch, and off we went to pick up the other vehicle. Nicole and I agreed that we would prefer the other driver and decided to change vehicles when the opportunity arose. As we arrived to pick up the other car, Stefan told the three boys and the Norwegian couple to get in the other car, which left Nicole and I with Stefan. (Not what I had originally hoped for, but it turned out to be the best for Nicole and I).

We had to drive into Stellenboch to pick up the remaining couple, and it is the second oldest settlement in the Cape Region and the home of one of the few Afrikaans University. It was originally a farm for the first governor who did a really good job establishing Cape Town. Quaint and neat, it looked lovely and very much a college town with cafes and little shops. The final couple was a pair of students, a Japanese girl and a Belgium man, who did not sit together but were a couple. We met the other car at the second winery, Simonsig (again named after the first governor), which specialized in Champagne.

It had the look of an old established winery and the rose brut champagne we tasted was lovely. Nicole bought a bottle. I ended up buying a red (I know, surprise! As I normally only drink whites). I noticed that all of the wine farms also had magnificent stands of roses, so I stopped for a photo.

PHOTO – Jane and roses

It is not uncommon for you to see a rose bush at the end of every row of vines. Stefan said that because they in the same family as the grape vines and therefore, if a pest was beginning to infect the vines, it would show up in the roses first. The technology is so advanced now that they don’t need the roses for that purpose, but they are still planted for tradition. I never knew that fact!

Our Japanese woman was not handling her wine very well, was not feeling great and hung her head out of the window the entire way to the our lunch stop. Lunch was at another winery and we given a plate with some type of pulled meat, rice, mixed veg, pumpkin and a small salad. The meat turned out to be what Stefan called venison, and it was Springbuck. I tried a little of it, and while it did not taste too bad, I was not up for game meat for lunch, especially not very cute game meat.

Back in the van for our third tasting of the day at a family run establishment that had a large barnyard full of animals to admire. One pen offered huge land tortoises (some attempting to increase the number in the pen), chickens and goats, while the other pen had lots of ducks, wallabys (that were in hiding) and two adorable potbellied pigs. Across the pasture were miniature donkeys, and the farm also had a large selection of dogs including Great Danes, Staffies and a very old but very cute dachshund. As they only offered one white variety, there was nothing at this farm that we felt we needed. By this stage of the tour, the Norwegian and British compliment were swilling down every last drop of their glasses, and getting louder and sillier with each glass. Once again, the universe knew better than I did and fixed the cars so that we were not traveling with them.

Our last winery was a wine group that offered 7 different labels out of one tasting room. They had a lovely looking restaurant and I wished at this point, that I had by own car so that I could return on another day. I bought another white and Nicole found a rose she liked.
See what I know now section at the bottom of this week. The younger set were out of control by this time and were singing loudly to the music, breaking wine glasses and spilling (or pouring) wine over each other. As this was our last winery, this would be our final drive and Nicole and I and the Japanese/Belgium couple went with Stefan in the other car and the silent partner got the rowdy 5.

It turned out to be a better day than it looked to be in the beginning and I am glad that I went. The weather had been very windy in Cape Town, but as we were farther north and away from the coast, our day was sunny, cool and very pleasant.


Tuesday, October 17 – Peninsula Tour

I had an 8am call for this tour and I was really looking forward to this tour, seeing the Cape of Good Hope and the penguins in the wild. The wind was fierce and I knew that it would be a blustery day. I took along my fleece and my fleece penguin cap from NZ.

Imma (pronounced Emma) was right on time and I found that I could not get the front door open. The security system had a two handed mechanism where you have to turn one knob and then release the door with other hand. My hands and wrists are still fatigued, but luckily Sasha was home and could help be get out the door. Imma was a charming Afrikaans woman who has been leading tours for 12 years. We had three other people to pick up in Cape Town so we chatted happily until we got there. My tour mates were the cutest three German seniors in their 80’s, a brother and sister and the brother’s spouse. Imma had not problem doing the tour in two languages and I picked up a fair bit of the second commentary when she explained it again in German.

We got out at our first look out in search of whales and the wind was so strong, it knocked my over on my butt. The picture gives you an idea of the strength of the wind.

PHOTO – wind.

During my trip, I had a chance at informal language lessons in German and Afrikaans. I know now that Shurn(sp?) means nice in German and the same word in Afrikaans is Moya.

As we rounded the corner on our coastal road, there were a long line of cars pulled over, a sure sign of whales. Sure enough, there were 4 of them in plain view and one of them was very close to the shore. Imma said that means that they had young with them. I had forgotten my binoculars, so I didn’t get a very good look, but I could definitely tell that there were some flippers and tails in the air, waving as me, I am sure.

As we had stopped to view the whales, we overlooked some houses with charming thatched roofs. Wonderful to look at and very interesting, and Imma said cost 3X the normal insurance if you have one of your house.

As we moved closer to the Capes, we entered the new Table Mountain National Park area. There are still some private holdings on the land and one was an ostrich farm. We stopped and said hello to Gertrude and Herman, a breeding pair. I fed grass to Gertrude and got to see up close her lovely eyelashes. There is a picture of me feeding Gertrude and it reminds me of the one of Annie when we went to Tidbinbilla in Australia when I was young and she fed the Emus. Before we left, a male in the next pen did a lovely courtship dance with a lovely display of his wings. It was wonderful to get to see them up close, even though they weren’t in the wild. They are still on my list to see in natural habitat.

Photogene and Gertrude

We entered the portion of the part going to the Capes and there was lots of signage warning us about the baboons and how they are attracted by food. CARE had told us that any time a baboon begins to eat human food and becomes to depend on it, it is a death sentence for the animal. Sooner or later, the baboon will overstep the boundary and they will be shot, as they will then be classified as a menace.

As we entered the part, Imma said that there was a good chance for us to also see zebra, eland and bushbuck. We kept our eyes peeled.

The tour would end up showing us two Capes in Africa; Cape Point, the southern most part of Africa and the Cape of Good Hope, which is the most southwestern part of Africa. The one thing that we would not see was Cape Angules, the place where the Indian and the Atlantic oceans really meet! (Poop!)

As we got to the Cape Point, we rode the funicular rail up to hill. Then we climbed the 120 steps to the top lighthouse on the point. It was determined after a boat called the Lusitania broke up on the Bellow Rocks, that clouds could easily obscure the light from this lighthouse on the hill. So, they erected another one at the base of the rock. I did get lovely views of both Capes from the lighthouse, but you had to hold on to your hat and camera, as the winds were still very strong.

We had lunch at Simonstown before we went to Boulders Beach to see the penguin colony. I had a wonderful lunch of fresh kingklip fish. My mission from Ditte was to find the key chains made out of beads in the shape of penguins. I had to search three different stores, but I finally found them.

Boulders Beach colony – all the adults are molting which could mean a lot of abandoned chicks (not really abandoned, but chicks that have no one to feed them as the adults do not fish during the month long molt) Very cute, Quen posed with his distant cousins.

PHOTO – QUEN PLUS COUSINS

A surprise on the tour for me was a stop at the wonderful botanic gardens called Kirstenbach Gardens. In the shadow of Table Mountain, these gardens were gifted to South Africa when the Englishman who owned the land died without spouse of children. It runs with only 10 staff and 200 volunteers and was wonderful. The Proteas where one of the main drawing cards and I saw lots of them. To my additional joy, there was Zimbabwe sculpture exhibit on the grounds, similar to the one that was in Denver several years ago. I really would love to have one of those stone sculptures, but until I have a garden to do it justice, I will hold off.

We left the gardens but not before we had a mongoose sighting and Imma and I fed the helmeted guinea fowl. Imma started with just one hen, and then another joined her. Before long, another one came running to her followed quickly by a fourth. Before we knew it, another trio saw the food and hotfooted it over to her. They were lovely and they really liked the peanuts she had brought.

PHOTO – Jane and guinea fowl

I thoroughly enjoyed this trip and would love to come back and do it again. Next time, I will bring my own car so that I can spend more time in some areas.

Today was Ditte’s last day at SANCCOB, so we met at Castello’s for pizza. I forgot the key chains and will have to send them to Ditte via Zita!

I heard all during dinner and from Nicole that the center is expecting the intake of 350 abandoned chick from Dyer Island. Our days will become very busy from now on.

Wednesday, October 18 – left with only 23, returned with over 400!

Since my last visit to SANCCOB, there was in influx of over 400 penguin chicks. With the parents in an earlier-than-normal molt, the chicks were essentially abandoned to feed themselves, which they did not have the knowledge to do. Over 400 chicks between 4-11 weeks of age were rescued from Dyer Island. Had they not been taken from the island, they would have died, as the parents during a molt do not swim and fish, as they are no longer waterproof. The adults live off their fat for the month, but the chicks could not fend for themselves.

I arrived to be assigned a pen with 40 chicks with Jennie, who had helped me so much as I began at the center. They are very sweet looking, all downy with some new feathers emerging, but mainly little bits of down here and there. As our pen was already divided into two pens with different ages, we had to come up with a way to further divide the pen so that we could sort out who had been fed and who had not. The regime for the day would be Darrows at 8 and 4, water at noon and three fish at each feeding at 10 and 3. They were not very glad to see us and did a lot of open mouth breathing to show us how stressed they were. Once we got the first fish into them (which was amazing enough as they were being asked to eat whole fish by the vet), they caught on pretty quickly and were swallowing by themselves. By the time we fed them in the afternoon, they were doing even better and the wiggling had calmed down considerably.

It was a very hot day and Jennie and I were dripping with sweat even though we were under shade. When you are in oilskins and arm protectors of neoprene, it gets a little hot!

It was a good day, even with only a short 15-minute lunch. I spoke a lot to Francis who has a special affinity with birds and I could tell that he was very present with us today. The birds upon intake yesterday were only dewormed. Monday, they will be blood tested and I would expect that there might be shuffling of the pens, as various ones may need medication. They won’t be able to swim until they finish their molt, so we still only have one pen that is swimming. I don’t think I will still be here when they begin to swim and it will be amazing to see how they will manage to get 400 birds to swim several times a day.

They were not able to release the small number of birds yesterday, as the seas were so rough. Today when the sea was calm, the center was too busy and could not arrange for a driver. Hopefully, they can release tomorrow, as there will not a be release next week. I have asked for 364’s armband that I intend to put on my new stuffed penguin from South Africa. Quen will still always be first in my heart, but I must admit that I will always remember 364 and his love bites, bruises, nips. I hope that I get a chance to feed him one last time before he goes back to sea. Maybe tomorrow.

Tomorrow, I work again, but Friday I am off and will go to Robben Island. I am looking forward to it

Thursday, October 19

Same as yesterday with the same amount of work and also cleaning the pens. Needless to say, with the added work, we were behind schedule. We were still going strong at 6pm, but I had to leave for my massage. I had called to see if it was possible for me to arrive a little late, but she had a client right behind me, so I hurried and made it within 5 minutes of my appointment.

My massage was fabulous! I stared with a quick shower, (as I had to come directly from work which had been hot and full of fish), a half leg wax and then a half hour massage. As Marta was working down my back and arms, as she got to my right arm, the crystals were releasing and sending energy up my arms to the top of my head. It was wonderful. Almost simultaneously, my nose began to clog which I thought was just my normal massage nose clog. As we ended the massage, I was on my back relaxing for a half hour as she handled another client. All the time I lay there, my right hand especially, was pulsing like it was breathing or gasping for breath. It was wonderful to feel the energy and be able to acknowledge all the work that my hands have done over this entire year. I kissed each finger and palm and back and thanked them for their previous and ongoing support. My hands are finally awake!

As I got home from my massage, on my bed was a package from my friend Bette in NZ. Inside were my spare contact lenses that I had left with her and lovely NZ apricot bars! YAAAH!

Friday, October 20 – Robben Island Trip

It was a misty morning when I took a taxi in to town for my Robben Island Tour. Before that I went to the VAT tax refund office to understand their rules for receiving a refund of the taxes I paid on products in SA. I didn’t want a recurrence of my OZ experience. I can begin processing the paperwork 7 days prior to departure and must have the items with me at the airport. I will plan to mail them from the postnet just before I leave SA.

My cold was still present so I stopped at Kauai for an apple juice pick-me-up with honey and ginger. YUMMY!

As we boarded the boat to take us to Robben Island, still under overcast skies, we were told that the boats we would take were the same ones used to transport prisoners during the Apartheid years. I found out later that the boat that I took both ways, the Dias, was the one that the author of the book, Island in Chains, had taken to and from the island during his 10-year incarceration.

On the way to the island, I was in search of penguins as we had release them close to the island last week. We came across one, all along in the water. Then within 3 minutes, another lone penguin. This was a little worrisome to me as lone penguins are easy prey for predators. Finally, less than a minute later, there was a fishing party of about 15 penguins in a pod on the water. Hopefully, our two loners found their way back to the group.

As we docked on the island, the sunny had finally appeared and when we looked back at Table Mountain, it had a ruff of clouds midway down the mountain and the top was poking out.

PHOTO – Tmountain with clouds.

We loaded on to busses and our guides were Thado (from the Langa township that I visited) and our driver from Khayteshia Township. They were both very knowledgeable and excellent speaker and the driver gave us a very heartfelt thank you so all that the outside nations did for South Africa and the boycotts that helped end Apartheid in SA.

The island has been used as a prison since the 1600’s and during its time, had different prison complexes in use – the old prison, the convict prison, the political prisoner prison. During Apartheid, it only housed convicts and black political prisoners. Coloreds (Indian, Malay, etc) and female political prisoners were housed in high security prisons near Joburg. On the island, the political prisoners began arriving prior to the prison being built so that they were housed with convicts. The wardens tried to get the convicts and the coloreds to take sides against the black prisoners, (with better meals for the coloreds and convicts and better privileges) but what ended up happening is that most of the prisoners shared what little they had and it built more cohesion between the groups instead of separation.

One of the first stops on the bus tour was the limestone quarry where the black political prisoners worked 6 hours a day for 13.5 years reducing the limestone into gravel for the roads on the island. In 2005, 5 years after the release of all the prisoners (which happened in 2000), there was a reunion on the island at the quarry. Nelson Mandela after the ceremony took a stone away from the quarry and put it near the road. All 1000 people in attendance did the same and now there is a little pile of stones to symbolize that apartied is truly buried. They have all agreed that they will meet on the island every 5 years until the last of the survivors is dead to remember and commemorate their experience.

All of the tour guides on the island are former political prisoners who now live on the island in the former quarters that housed the prison guards and their families. Some of the guards have also returned and work at the museum. People are amazed that both sides can live in harmony, but they do. One of the main topics of his talk was how the authorities at the time assigned different diets to prisoners based on type of crime and ethnic background. The black and all political prisoners usually received the most meager diet called Diet B. See the chart to compare to the C diet of for colored prisoners. While neither is princely, the C diet is obviously greater.

We only had two hours on the island and this being our last stop, we felt a little rushed and would have liked more time to ask questions and go into the individual cells. Nicole who went on the tour after I did said that former inmates had left little messages on the walls of their cells which I wished I had been able to see and read. As they mentioned, the museum is in a constant state of improvement, and hopefully some day they will allow more time per tour.

It is hard to believe, but the feeling from the prisoners and in all the literature that I have read of seen, the prisoners do not have ill will again their jailers. As Nelson said, I am no anti-white, I am anti-white supremacy. As our tour guide later pointed out, they prisoner during their time knew that two wrongs would not make a right, and so they left their prison without much of the baggage that you might expect them to carry. Those that survived the prison left the island and most of them went on to lead productive and active political lives and helped to establish the government that is now SA.

On the way back from the island, I read An Island in Chains, written by Nairoo Indres who had been political prisoner for 10 years. We were on the actual ferry that had taken him to Robben Island in the early 60’s.

When I got back to the wharf, there were 4 African Fur Seals sunning themselves on the steps leading down to the water.

Photo – Fur Seals.

I treated myself to a wonderful shrimp salad and then went to the movie, An Inconvenient Truth. It is a documentary based on the slide show that Al Gore has shown around the world over 100 times. In my mind, it is a must see and clearly and emphatically describes global warming and this it is with us now and not something that will happen in the future. There had been several reviews in the local paper, most complimentary and one rather sour. It does appear as the Al Gore show, but his points about the science behind the existence of global warming are real and compelling.

Still had the slight head cold, which I later determined to be my body shifting energy after the massage from earlier in the week.

Saturday, October 21

I was the supervisor of pen 2, the largest birds, the gannet and also those with medication needs. 36 birds. With a knowledgeable volunteer for the morning and a person who had never been at the center as my general helper we began the day with fluids and medication. New for today, I was asked to give IM injection to a bird. I watch the first one and was ready for the second, but things were moving so fast that a staff member did the second injection for the day. At least I will be ready for the next time. I realized half way through the day that I don’t want to be in charge during my volunteer work. I did that a home and am not even sure that I wanted that.

Oh well, several old friend were still in the pen including 200, the little sweetie that I met last week, and 414 who is getting quite large and should be ready to go on the next release.

We were told first thing this morning that another 270 birds would be arriving today. So I spent some of my day helping Marlis construct temporary enclosures for our new guests. 401 plus 270 in this week and only 7 releases and two deaths (not at SANCCOB but at the nursery residence). With these statistics, we will soon be overrun. Hopefully, there will be a good number to release next week. Let’s hope we have the staff to make the release possible next week.
Marlis is also a baboon foster mommy, so we spent time speaking about our favorites and how much we enjoyed our time at CARE

I have only about a week left and I feel that when I leave, I will be ready and will remember my time at SANCCOB with fondness and appreciation for all that I have learned, both about the penguins and about myself.

Nicole and I opened our first bottle of wine tonight and shared a pizza. An early evening with the book and Kleenex for my nose.

Sunday, October 22

I started the morning with 6 band-aids on my right hand, a record up until today. We will see what the final count is at the end of the day. Our number had increased over night and now there are three new pens with chicks.

I supervised pen 3 today that held 74 birds with Zita as my main helper. Was a little plugged in as Zita was still not tubing the birds as of 8am this morning, so I had to do all of them. This did not help me or my birds, who were only taking about 30 mls of their 60 before they threw up. Nola said it was stress and that 30 mls if fine.

Nola, the vet, trained Zita on tubing at noon, so she was finally a fully trained volunteer. YAAH! Luckily, Heather when she had finished her 35 birds, she would swing by and help us, so it ended up being one pen of about 25 birds for each of us for each of the 5 fluids or feeding times. Thank you Heather.

As it was Sunday, we had tons of volunteers who had come for the day to help. Most of the plastic mats are well under control and are looking much better now that we have the center’s Wap machine back and functioning.

As there have been so many birds taken in lately and they kept running out of arm tags, today in pen 3, were did an inventory of our birds and who needed new or duplicate arm tags. Basically, all of them needed at least one. At the 4:00 fluids, we ended up with three teams working. Step one was to catch the bird and call out the number to the team. Step two, Team member would arrive with scissors and the required number of armbands and cut off the old one and put on the new ones. The clasp was rather tricky and hard on the fingers and the longer it took, the more they wriggled and dug their claws into the holder (me, Zita and Heather). Step three, darrows was administered. My guys again were pretty stressed and some ended up with just a little bit of darrows. Tomorrow will be better as they won’t need arm bands again.

Nicole and I walked to the store for some groceries and then home for dinner. Tomorrow I will ask Carole about shifting my schedule so that I can have one day off with Nicole to go up in the Cable Car to Table Mountain and I will also tell her that I am moving up my final day.

I am looking forward to my Wednesday off where I am not planning anything more exciting than taking myself out for breakfast, a possible movie, and laying outside on the marvelous bed with pillows and reading.

WHAT I KNOW NOW!

I have found lately that most of the tours I have been on involve couples, so having a traveling partner is a good way not to feel like a fifth wheel all the time.

The next time I am offered a choice between a serious and a fun tour, I need to ask a lot more questions. Fun tour can be a euphemism for filled with lots of 20 year olds. That might work on some trips, but not on others, I will most likely have a more pleasant time with people closer to my own age or outlook.

I have also found that I am now wanting to spend more time in places, or have the chance to go back later for a more in depth explore. A car is a definite must the next time I want to tour in South Africa. I will park it in big cities, but it sure makes side trips easier.

Posted by ladyjanes 04:34 Archived in South Africa Tagged postcards Comments (0)

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