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Stéphanie has participated to the mission Vervets Monkey Sanctuary in South Africa

Mission of 28 days, performed in February 2019

My participation

My name is Stephanie. I am 29 years old and I am currently in 3ème and last year of a Baccalaureat in Agronomy with Animal Technology. As part of my internship, I spent a month (February 2019) at the Vervet Monkey Foundation ... What an incredible adventure!
Fascinated for a long time by the African continent and fascinated by primatology and great apes through the work of people like Jane Goodall, it was a very exciting and especially exciting experience to discover the vervets in their natural environment.

My expectations

The energy of South Africa, the splendid setting of the sanctuary, the seriousness of the project, the kindness and generosity of the people I met, the friendly and relaxed atmosphere, the vegan lifestyle and more that all the meeting with this species of primates highly social and intelligent, all I really liked! I immediately felt comfortable and in tune with the management and philosophy of the rehabilitation and conservation program. Always well supervised by the members of the team on site, I learned a lot while feeling fully involved in this project. As Dave Du Toit, founder and director of the VMF, said, I could see the difference I made in the everyday life of these animals just by looking in their eyes every day.

What I retain

I am very grateful and proud to have been part of this eco-volunteering project! I also hope to have the chance to return one day ... Take care of baby vervets, work hard for their integration with the troops, live among the Bandits (a wild population of vervets that evolve around the pens) and I wish it with all my heart to see these primates integrate the "Vervet Forest".

The mission Sanctuary vervet monkeys, South Africa

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Jessica took part in the Vervets Monkeys Sanctuary mission to South Africa

Mission of 30 days, carried out in May 2018

My participation

The work was quite varied and was divided between the following tasks:
-preparation of the meal for some monkeys in the morning
- turn sections to check the water, give them fresh food (herbs, leaves ...) and make sure that the monkeys are going well
- monitoring / surveillance observation of monkeys, either for a particular problem or for integration into a troop (baby in particular)
- monitor baby monkeys and monitor their integration
- milk preparation and distribution for babies
- various specific care tasks for sick monkeys
- occasionally preparing the meal for the team

The working day starts at 7h and ends between 16h30 and 18h with a pause of 30 minutes in the morning, an 1h lunch break usually

My expectations

I thoroughly enjoyed this stay. I got to know more about the behavior and life of these monkeys who are all survivors. The goal is to release those who can but unfortunately the injuries of some are sometimes too important to treat and release them. The sanctuary has a beautiful space for them and the goal is to create a forest for them, to buy 1000 hectares of forest to release the troops built up over time. I invite you to watch the movie Vervet forest. Being vegan, this sanctuary was perfect for me considering the values ​​it carries. Being a senior manager, my duties have changed a lot from what I used to do but it was only enriching.The proximity of Kruger Park is a real plus, if only for one weekend.

My advice

The accommodation is very basic and at night it can be cold. Good down is required depending on the time of year. Do not be dismissive of vegean meals and vegan lifestyle. Some ecovolunteers had a very negative attitude in this regard. Admittedly, it is difficult to open your eyes and change your behavior but it is necessary for the future of all.

What I retain

A new essential field experience to better understand the various issues facing a sanctuary.

My assets

Acquired more transposable in a work related to animals Need for defense and protect our environment

The mission Sanctuary vervet monkeys, South Africa

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Lola participated to the mission Vervets Monkey Sanctuary in South Africa

Mission of 30 days, carried out in October 2018

My participation

Horaire:
- Beginning of the day at 7h
- End of the day according to the mission, about 16h / 16h30, later for the baby shifts and integration of the monkeys (18h)
- Possibility of night shifts with babies

Job :
- Give water and enrichment to monkeys
- Give the milk via the cages to the babies adopted by troops and thus having no contact with the man
- Prepare food in the morning
- Help the workers (cut fruits, wash plates, prepare bowls, distribute food
- Monitor the integration of monkeys from one cage to another or in a troop
- Participate in the overall maintenance throughout the refuge
- Cook for volunteers
- Take care of babies and their integration

My expectations

I thoroughly enjoyed my stay, it matched my expectations perfectly.

My advice

The toilets and showers are outside, not in the rooms, and the toilets are dry with a lot of midges / smells, you have to have it in mind.

The mission Sanctuary vervet monkeys, South Africa

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Valérie took part in the Vervets Monkeys Sanctuary mission to South Africa

Mission 21 days, conducted in April 2018

My participation

The work I did consisted mainly of monitoring (monitor the young vervet monkeys being rehabilitated on the interactions with other adult and young monkeys, their diet .... and note their behavior), go around the " sections "sheltering monkeys rehabilitated to provide water and" forage ", prepare / cut fruit for monkeys' food and clean containers, help cooking for the whole small community .... The work is actually varied and everyone can find their place and contribute to the proper functioning of the foundation that needs much reinforcement.

My expectations

I really appreciated the diversity of ecovolunteers' origins and their motivations for this experience (but having in common a certain taste for the preservation of the environment), the contact with the monkeys (endearing but also mischievous!) And to live during 3 weeks in this corner of nature, returning to the essential (but quite sufficient) regarding the living conditions.

My advice

Have a good level in English even if Francophones can help you on the spot (thanks again to them .....), have a good sense of the adaptation to the life in community, well to like the walk (the ground of the foundation is extended). The site is isolated, transport programming, ancillary activities and menu-shopping is not always easy. No worries if you are not vegan or vegetarian in advance, the food is excellent!

What I retain

Contribute, at my small level, to the rehabilitation of a species unfairly considered as "vermin" but suffering in fact from the disappearance of the forests constituting its natural habitat and the development of road infrastructures (collisions).

My assets

Want to go on an eco-volunteering mission. Long-time vegetarian, (try to) switch to a vegan diet.

The mission Sanctuary vervet monkeys, South Africa

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Audrey participated (e) mission Sanctuary vervet monkeys in South Africa

Mission 13 days, conducted in December 2017

My participation

Maintenance and repair of cages, preparation of food, observations and care of juveniles, observations and distribution of food in the troops.

My expectations

I will go back to this center. This trip (too short), ideally provide 1 months; brought me a lot on a personal level and allowed me to express all my love for wild animals in a very respectful and informative setting. I refocused on my little place to be human and in the eyes of the Vervets I saw the expression of the soul of the living. I was very touched and moved by this meeting! The management team will take care of you with as much attention as for the monkeys. The schedule is very well done. The pace of the day is well balanced.

My advice

Remember to equip yourself and READ the clear and complete instructions of cybelle planet. Plan saline (we work in an outdoor environment, and the air is very dry). It can be very hot and cold, so plan shoes suitable for work in the rain. The vegan food is fantastic, have no apprehension with it, and on your rest days you can go to town ... Speaking of the city respect the instructions given, South Africa is a country with a lot of inequalities and therefore very poor people who live in the middle of the rich (do not behave as a wallet!).

My assets

Each of these missions opens a little more my consciousness and gives meaning to my life in this civilization where I do not understand everything ... and do not recognize me.

The mission Sanctuary vervet monkeys, South Africa

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Emy took part in the Vervets Monkeys Sanctuary mission to South Africa

Mission of 30 days, carried out in October 2017

My participation

Schedules, usually volunteers start the day at 7h until 17h, with a break in the morning from 10h to 10h30 and from 12h to 14h for the meal.
Sometimes you can have 1h working on lunchtime or in the evening.

Every day the schedule changes, but the tasks consist of:
- preparation of meals, cutting fruits and vegetables (helping the team to distribute the bowls)
- maintenance: (cleaning, cleaning of bowls or blankets, storing fruit and vegetable deliveries in boxes, weeding, painting, construction of enclosures or landscaping)
- go around the parks and cages: (give drilling, seeds, water, check the electric fences)
- the observation of a monkey or a baby in his park or his cage, for different reasons: (to watch a health problem, the integration in a troop, the behavior and relation with the others etc).

My expectations

The main objective is that they may be released one day in a forest. So no or little contact with the monkeys. I had the chance twice to be able to spend some time with three vervet babies with the presence of "baby mum's". I enjoyed the end-of-day moments when I walked around the sanctuary to observe monkeys roaming free with their babies (named "bandits"). Photo sessions :)

My advice

Check the numbers of volunteers when coming in. (If possible) Do not expect to take monkeys in your arms or touch them. On the other hand possibility to observe them and to learn to know some of them. Try to organize an outing to Kruger Park (safari)

What I retain

Ability to live in community, living conditions not always easy (example: sanitary or vegan food for non-vegan people), but you get used to it. The exchange between volunteers, the different experiences of travel or volunteering is interesting.

The mission Sanctuary vervet monkeys, South Africa

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ILoveCharlieTheSamango participated in the Mission Sanctuary of the Vervets Monkeys in South Africa

Mission 27 days, conducted in July 2017

My participation

Workdays started every day at 7h and finished between 11h and 13h in the morning, resumed at 13h or 14h (always with a break of at least 1h to eat), until 16h or 17h, exceptionally 18h.

My expectations

I loved my stay and it was way above my expectations. I could not hope for what I lived.

My advice

If you go there in winter (so in summer in France), take several good sweaters.

What I retain

My stay at the VMF was extremely enriching. I have long been aware of the protection of nature and animals, but spending so much time caring for monkeys has created a strong emotional attachment to monkeys and the sanctuary. It is a place I love especially because of the simplicity of the living environment (sleeping in a wooden cabin, taking a shower in a place where you can see the trees) ... I Found the place to be charming. I was worried about going on food (vegan) because I was afraid to change my diet as drastically (I loved meat and I did not like vegetables ..) but finally I was 100% convinced by this way of life, and I became vegan when I returned. I loved being able to spend as much time watching the monkeys, working with them, getting to know them (in terms of species and more individually). I advise this experience to anyone motivated to put the hand to the pulp to preserve the nature!

My assets

Eating behavior.

The mission Sanctuary vervet monkeys, South Africa

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Claire participated in the Mission Sanctuary of the Vervet Monkeys in South Africa

Mission of 30 days, carried out in May 2017

My participation

The work at the VMF is quite physical (7km to walk per day on average) but the sanctuary is so beautiful and the work is taking so we really do not realize.
Days start at 7h (occasionally 6h for integrations) and end at 16h30, 17h or 18h30.
During the infant season, some are doing night shifts from 18h30 to 7h. They take care of the babies and prepare the feeding bottles and give them.

During the month I was a volunteer, I was able to touch on many different tasks: the sections (checking the water, drilling, checking the integrations, disinfecting the fences); The milk (to prepare and bring the bottles to the babies, the bottles are to change all the 4h, it is also necessary to note how much they drink); Integrations (a rather nice job of sitting and observing the behavior of the monkeys, often it is a baby who is trying to integrate with an adoptive mother, but it can also be an adult monkey, We integrate in a "troop"); Babies (it was not the baby's season when I volunteered but I still had the chance to watch over Theo, little baby vervet of 5 month that was separated from his adoptive mother because he Was sick, I had to watch him and note everything he ate and drank, and over the time he spent with me, he trusted me and climbed on my shoulders!
There are also other more casual tasks such as: grooming monkeys, doing maintenance, cleaning the cottage or sickbay ...

My expectations

I really enjoyed my stay at the sanctuary although the 1 week was quite difficult in terms of food, living conditions, etc. But in the end, we get used to it very easily!

My advice

If you go in winter (ie summer for us), take a sleeping bag VERY hot! I got cold every night ... Also think about taking warm sweaters for the evening (night falls at 17h30) and in the morning!

What I retain

I realized that the animal condition is worse than I thought, the camp being vegan I was able to learn much more about this way of life, I was able to understand to what extent the animals are mistreated all that only For human consumption! For the Vervets, regarded as vermin, taking care of them and working alongside them has been very rewarding and one really has the feelings of doing something good and useful !!

The mission Sanctuary vervet monkeys, South Africa

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Chrystelle participated (e) mission Sanctuary vervet monkeys in South Africa

Mission 15 days, conducted in December 2016

My participation

During my two-week mission I was able to accomplish different missions to vervet monkeys: meal preparation, checking enclosures (water), fodder distribution, 'adoption mom' for babies. The days were dense enough and started and ended between 7h 17h and 19h as assigned missions

My expectations

I loved this mission because I could perform various tasks according to the needs of the foundation, I also have been closer to the baby, I dreamed! As against it must not minimize the environment in which it operates: the heat this season, the little beasts hostile and sometimes difficult hygiene conditions ...

My advice

The season that I have chosen to leave was perfect to discover the amazing connection with the baby monkeys. I regretted not stay a little longer to participate in the reintegration of babies with the troops of vervet adults. 1mois was a perfect length of stay I think!

What I retain

I liked the contact with volunteers from all walks of life, the work was hard but I really feel useful. This mission gave me more confidence in myself!

My assets

Confidence, patience and tolerance

The mission Sanctuary vervet monkeys, South Africa

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Clarisse B participated (e) mission Sanctuary vervet monkeys in South Africa

Mission 21 days, conducted in July 2016
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My participation

There are several time slots on a day: from 7 to 9h to 9 to 10h to 10h30 to 12h to 12 to 13h sometimes of 13h to 14h to 14h to 17h and sometimes 17h to 18h. Once the work is completed on these hours (when there are many volunteers), we can take breaks, eat, drink, take a shower, do his laundry, ... it is completely free.
The work depends on the time slots and changes every day: give water, food, disinfect pens, prepare the milk for babies, watch the integration of youth in groups of semi-wild monkeys ... D ' other operations may be performed as needed: cleaning the site for example.

My expectations

I fully appreciated, even loved: working together, in good spirits, we meet people from around the world, progress in English, we discover the vegan diet that made many reflect on our daily consumption ... we rub monkeys and we follow them in their growth and integration in wild groups.

My advice

Take warm clothes as cold: this period (winter), he 30 ° C during the day and between 3 and 10 ° C at night! Although hedge night, take blankets, make shorts for days, solar creams, goggles to work out. Do not forget the required / minimum toilet, for the life of every day. Take plenty to do during breaks (books, phones for wifi, ...) even if it is much better and interesting to talk and take breaks with others.

What I retain

The journey, the discovery of a conservation center, community life with people from the world, the use of English to get by, usability around the fire at night, exchange, learn to cook for many, eat differently, adapt. See what is good for monkeys, for their wildlife. It participates in a true ecological project while enjoying new things. It is very enriching.

My assets

Without doubt get by in English.

The mission Sanctuary vervet monkeys, South Africa

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