FVP In South Africa

Written By Charlotte, Latitudes ’19 South Africa

People can tell you over and over that working with animals is more grueling than glamorous but you’ll never really understand until you try it yourself. The past 2 months have been filled with adventures, beautiful beaches, friendship, sweat, tears, and most importantly: monkey poo. I’m so happy that I’ve chosen to volunteer for C.R.O.W. here in South Africa. The days are long and the work is hard but the people are so, so friendly. I’m also extremely lucky to work with baby monkeys and baboons by assisting in the primate nursery. Not all volunteers get to work with the primates, so bottle feeding and taking care of the babies is a privilege.

This is May, a chubby little vervet monkey that loves to suck her thumb and hide in her hammock

This is Nicholas Cage, an ex-pet who spent his first few nights scared of the other monkeys and crying out for attention. He now lives and plays among the other happily.

These are just a few of the 15+ babies I get to work with. I’ve definitely gotten more out of this experience than I was expecting. I’ve made friends with so many different volunteers from all over the world and I’ve made connections with animals that I will always remember. When I started this journey 7 months ago in India all I knew was that I wanted to travel. All I wanted was to explore and experience change and disconnect from my routine. I wanted to get away from my country and I didn’t want to keep thinking about my career and my future. Now here I am 7 months later, and know that this is my career and this is my future. Traveling is a part of me, it’s what makes me happy and content. Seeing the world and expanding my horizons feeds my soul. I now know that I will always integrate traveling into whatever I decide to do and that makes me so excited for the rest of my life.