EHRA base camp is a nice, quiet place. It is very clean and comfortable, with an outdoor platform for tents for people to sleep in.
Build week camp was located on the edge of a farm. It was quite cold at night, but it was still a great experience sleeping outside.
Patrol week camps were at great locations. Great scenery at night and perfect to watch the sunset. Also it felt very safe despite being out in the wild.
Not washing was difficult. It was nice to get a shower at the end of the week.
We saw a rhino, giraffe, zebra, kudu, springbok, cows, goats and dogs, different birds, and the elephants from both H1 and H2.
I was very lucky on my project because we had a great group of people and we all got along well together. Everyone was very hard-working and motivated to work together and do well. We also had a lot of fun playing different games and chatting in the evening.
Being on meal duty was good, because I worked with two girls who had experience from previous weeks so we were able to do it without difficulties. Cooking on the fire was a great experience and the staff helped us a lot.
The work on build week was tough but satisfying. We worked hard for the full week but were given good and clear instructions so we knew what we were doing at all times. We rebuilt two walls. We dug a trench to cover water pipes, and also laid a foundation for a new wall. Really satisfying to see how it turned out.
The best part of patrol was observing the elephants from up close. Sleeping outside proved difficult the first night but I soon got used to it and it turned out to be a good experience.
Had you ever seen an elephant before?
Not before this trip!
I first saw an elephant on build week at the farm we were building. It was scary and exciting at the same time. The elephants actually broke the water pipes we had just fixed.
From the above experience alone, I was able to understand the frustration the farmers had with the elephants. But I can also understand that there have to be suitable drinking spots made available to elephants or else they will keep attacking farms.
What will you always remember from your time with EHRA?
The people we worked with were wonderful and it was an incredible experience to get so close to the elephants in their natural habitat.
Was the experience with EHRA what you thought it would be?
Yes, everything and more!
Eoin O’ Brien, joined EHRA as a Volunteer from 17 Aug to 01 September 2018, all the way Ireland.