Volunteer Blog – 15 June – 26 June 2015

Volunteers group photoEHRA Patrol week 24.06.2015
I’ve been keeping travel journal during my time with EHRA, and this week most entries start with “what a day on patrol!” I’m very fortunate in that this is my second time coming to Namibia and volunteering with EHRA and it has not disappointed. Our first sighting of the elephants followed shortly after Chris saying “guys-get back in the car, there’s an elephant in that bush” and sure enough a mother was having a feed on the nearby trees with her baby. The close encounters followed that afternoon when The Duchess and her three offspring of varying ages and sizes came right up to the car to say hello. They were so close that you could see their eye lashes. Seeing the elephants so up and close in their own environment is such a special experience that words can’t really describe. However, as another volunteer pointed out, we are not on safari, we are on patrol, and that afternoon we came across the carcass of Mama Afrika, who had not been seen for some time. I have not smelt an elephant carcass before and holy molly it stunk badly! After liaising with the MET and determining the death was of natural causes, the volunteers (with Chris and Mattias) build a little memorial with stones which was a nice touch. Being on patrol with EHRA gives you amazing memories, but is also such an educational experience-in the both the good, and slightly less glamorous times!

EHRA sign
My top tips for EHRA:
– Wet wipes, wet wipes and wet wipes
– Bring moisturiser- the sand makes your skin really dry
– Rehydration sachets for build week should not be under estimated
– Consider the wind and terrain (i.e. if there is dry grass) before setting fire to your toilet paper. I don’t think I’ve seen Chris run as fast as when someone shouted “Chris! CHRIS! WE’VE GOT A FIRE!” (It was pretty funny after the fact!)
Claire, Melbourne, Australia



We’re made it back to Base camp after a successful patrol between the Ugab and Huab rivers and are thawing out from a frigid and windy trip back on the cars with some grilled cheese and hot tea.
After a somewhat grisly start to patrol finding Mama Afrika’s carcass and visiting a recently-dead massive bull, we enjoyed sightings of three herds. The first, spotted down river from Mamma Afrika’s mourning spot, came right up to our right. What could have been a heart-pounding encounter was much more calming than I had ever expected. The elephants were incredibly chilled and languid, just being around them felt relaxing.
Our responsibilities on patrol, as mentioned extend to checking up on live elephants as well as dead ones.
PAUSE…someone just set the stove alight. OK…all’s well now. We seem to have a thing for fires in this camp?
Anyway…dead elephants. Certainly a theme from the first half of patrol. We checked in on said bull, which had been killed in an apparent fight from a series of brutal wounds across his body. Given the size of this guy (posthumously named “Elvis” or “Barry White”), it’s hard to imagine how huge the “winner” in this fight was. Either way, it was weirdly heartening to see that this guy, like Mama Afrika, had died of natural causes – and better yet had tusks intact. If karma holds, the bloated bull will explode on whoever tries to take the tusks before the authorities….

Mama Afrikas memorial place

After an eventful night including a giraffe sighting and a minor bush fire, we saw more LIVE ……REAL….LIVE elephants in the Huab region. Early morning tracking lessons led to a sighting of one herd with 16 elephants crossing the road to the river – an amazing sight topped only by the additional herd of 12 that followed. These were from herds “H1” and “H2” which we have been able to follow closely for the past two days while some entertainment votes might go to the large male with an…. Um… enthusiastic disposition, I think it’s safe to say that we were all won over by a particular baby elephant and an adolescent who wandered over to the car waving some branches our way. Chris A.K.A Freddie Prinze A.K.A Jack Sparrow ran a tight ship and had us snapping away for an I.D book for his region – “Front!” “Side!” ”Tail” and so on. Again, hard not to focus on that baby and it’s mother.
Definitely same sadness as we pulled away from the two herds digging for water in the riverbed. Its going to be a difficult transition going from this amazing place and its great people – and creatures – but it gives all the more reason to come back for more!
Meg, Boston, MA, USA

Volunteers camp

25.06.2015 Patrol week – The other car!
Mattias was our driver and we started patrol with only 4 passengers despite being in the car with better lumbar support. We had 6 passengers by the last day. It was harder to get in our car, so we developed some upper body strength. If you have any intention of riding on top of the car, I highly recommend push ups or some sort of core training. (Also squats for obvious reasons.)
Being in the second car frequently meant we missed the best bits because car one was in the way. But there were definite benefits, like Mattias’ crazy good eye sight or 6th sense. He doesn’t miss a creature! We saw a giraffe and scared him. He threw his body around in the most embarrassing way and ran in the opposite direction. Today as 1st car drove on, we stopped to see a group of four giraffes. Mattias is also very good at driving on sand! We only got stuck once and that delay led to the embarrassing giraffe encounter mentioned earlier. All in all we saw so many elephants I actually got bored!
Anna, Boston, United States of America
There may have been some competition between the two!

Volunteer mixing cement25.06.2015 Sunrise over Damaraland
The last morning on patrol week, it was well worth the early start to climb the rocks and watch the sunrise. Jo and I started climbing @06:30 with camera @ tea in hand. Although we were not climbing far it was tiring @ this time of the morning, and we got a little lost on the way up. Sitting up on that rock, watching over our camp and the incredible landscape of Mopane trees evenly spaced with tall shadows, was an incredible experience. The pink shades in the clouds and the orange on the horizon, this is when you know this is exactly where you want to be. You could sit there forever, silently watching and waiting for the next sunrise.
Rebecca – QLD, Aus.

Volunteer helping

June 26,2015
To add to Claire’s top tips for EHRA, bring tampons for midnight gushing bloody noses! Even if you’ve never had one before.
Also, this tip has been life-changing for me. I’ve decided to pursue a career/degree in being a wildlife veterinarian. I’d love to move to Africa in the future.
Thanks EHRA for an amazing first time in Africa!
Daisy, Wisconsin, USA

We felt that EHRA needed a slogan to accompany the logo and came up with the following –
“From schwakopmund to scheafelfontein, we touch all of Namibia”

Happy volunteers

Volunteer Blog – 18 – 29 May 2015

Volunteer group fotoMakeda Krish 24/05/2015
One of the most striking things about being out here is the change in my perception of time. Coming from the never ending hustle of London, where every minute has infinite possibilities to be crammed with chores, activities and motion –the quietude and solace that I’ve encountered here has been like a breath of fresh air. A new opening to a realm of peace and relaxation. What amazes most is that although each day at EHRA is far from dull – between shovelling mountains of sand, heaving ever – heavier rocks with macho determination, gazing through binoculars, intent on spotting the moving rock on the horizon, of practising mental trickery through a tense game of cards, the itinerary is endless – the seconds, minutes, hours seem to flow by in an unhurried steam. Never stressful, never ever – crammed, simply a fluid blur of moments and experiences that seem to converge into one calm continuum. And in a blink, 2 weeks are over.
This is something that I have definitely begun to feel most keenly as the days trickle through my last cycle on the project after 8 weeks. No matter how hard I try, time overtakes me, and I know that these two weeks will end before they’ve really begun. However, despite the inevitable a sadness I will feel when, upon leaving the happy cocoon that is with EHRA, I will leave with the warming sense of comfort that this short flash of time on the project has not been insignificant but one of the most important periods of my life so far. The people I’ve met, the incredible things I’ve seen, the amazing work and dedication of everyone at EHRA and how it has confirmed my own certainty that I would love to work in conservation.
Now I know that time should be valued not by quantity, but by every moment, every memory that goes by. It’s been such an opportunity and I feel privileged to have been put on it. 2 months can be just as valuable as 12 – it is just what you make of it that makes the difference.

An elephant breaking a branchSylvia Andreas – EHRA Intern
26 March 2015
We woke up at a nice sizzling sunrise, the view was beautiful from where we camped for the night and there is nothing more awesome then a nice sunrise and a hot cup of coffee in bed. It was a nice morning not too chilly and not too hot. We drove from Doros and made our way to Twyfelfontein were we made a stop at the Burnt Mountain. Chris led us down to see the Organ Pipes which is one of the most natural attractions in Twyfelfontein. We had our stop at Twyfelfontein lodge, where we had some cake and coffee and looked around the area. I was really proud at the moment that we have such a beautiful country full of natural attractions and not overly populated by man-made attractions. I was also proud to see that the cultural heritage in the area is well conserved and kept.

Elephant pulling out a tree
We carried on with our journey to track elephants and make another id book for EHRA. We spotted ostrich, springbok and elephants in a group. That was way cool, I would say. Everyone took as many pictures as they could and it was really great because I am certain that all the volunteers felt involved and as part of the EHRA team. I have learned something today, as I saw these elephants so close to the vehicle, really close and they walked away without harming us despite the fact that they knew we were around. This taught me that this elephants aren’t as dangerous as we picture them to be as long as we don’t show them any sign of us being a threat to them. They won’t do anything to us humans. They are really awesome and we as humans need to care for them. Elephants and Humans Relationship is really important. I never had a problem with poaching, but my three weeks of being with EHRA taught me a lot and I have completely fallen in love with these animals. I am against poaching and I would do all I can if possible for it to stop.

Damaraland's natural springTerri Doolin
Monday 25 May
It was a public holiday in many countries and apparently also for the elephants of the Ugab as they were nowhere to be found on patrol day one. We followed tracks and piles of elephant poo, most of which we were told were two days old. The elephants had a busy day on Saturday, but where were they now? It seemed hard to believe as we climbed koppies and scanned the whole expanse of the Namibian horizon that they could elude us for long, but they did. Even the giraffes whose tracks we saw could not be spotted. It was actually good to have it brought home that these are truly wild animals and not available to us on demand. The day still ended on a positive note with the discovery of a beautiful watering hole, bathed in pink with light of the setting sun. We may not have seen the animals we sought but we had shared in their environment. Day two finally brought me long awaited sighting of the “moving rocks” on my side of the mountain by “eagle eyed” Jill. As we approached the herd, we also had the bonus of seeing the giraffes. Being close to the elephants was amazing.

Volunteers looking at the spring

The protective nature highlighted as they encircled their youngest member, approached us en masse before stopping and observing us almost as keenly as we observed them. As they moved about their business, eating and dusting themselves with sun protective sand, we stayed with them for a time. It was clear they were not 100% comfortable with our presence, so we did not outstay our welcome. It turned out we had the privilege of seeing the seldom observed G6 herd, a rare occurrence. Next up was the Doros Crater region and onto the Huab River where we were to get photos of the Huab elephants for Chris’ ID book. Over 2 days we saw the H2, H1 herds and Oscar the bull. Both of these were clearly more comfortable with humans due to their proximity to lodges. This made the experience no less special. Both herds with their playful juveniles were a joy to watch. The baby of H1 trying to join in with the older ones, trying to layer up with sun protective dust and ultimately face planting in the sand was definitely a highlight as was the young bull elephant of H2 that came within 5 metres of my seat in the vehicle before moving on. Our patrol may have been slow to start, but it was an incredible experience throughout. I would like to thank the elephants of the Ugab and Huab along with the staff of EHRA for shaping their world with me for this brief moment. Go raibh mile maith agat.

Elephants under a shadeA no name entry!
Deciding to go on this trip was dearly one of the best ideas I have had. The people working for EHRA showed me a completely other way of living and appreciating the nature and especially the amazing animals who live on this planet. Already the build week was such an amazing experience. I had the luck to finish together with the other volunteers a wall which EHRA started two weeks earlier. Working there, mixing cement, collecting rocks and sand was exhausting and the next day your body tells you what you have done, but together with this feeling of achieving something good, it is speechless wonderful.

Volunteer looking at the view Patrol week really is the present you get for the hard work – although the shower you have after build week is also an amazing feeling. Well, patrol week was very cool and fascinating. I saw for the first time in my life wild animals. After the first day of patrol week I was already a bit worried, because we didn’t find the elephants, but then a on the second day we saw a herd of them and I was so amazed. Such beautiful animals who provide a breathless atmosphere of relaxing. Together with seeing all the other animals as springboks, kudus, zebras, giraffes, different birds and an amazing landscape it is an unforgettable experience I have made with EHRA and I definitely will come back.

Elephant herd walking

Volunteer Blog – 4 – 15 May 2015z

Volunteer group pictureBADNESS – politics, people conflict
Alphabet for EHRA
A – amazing abundant
B – brutal, beautiful, baboons
C – charismatic, callous
D – desperate, drought, desert, dishwashing, dessert
E – EHRA + elephant
F – Fantastic phantoms
G – good tucker, grasshoppers
H – harsh, hot, harmful
I – Intensifying intoxicating
J – jackal
K – kaleidoscope, Khorixas
L – lamb tagine, loneliness
M – much wonder, missing Mopani bees
N- night noises, night jar
O – oranges, olifant
P – Peace project, perfect n peaceful, passionate, people
Q – quantum
R- rise n shine at 6.15am, rooibos
S – scorpion, spiders, snakes, sunshine
T – Tantalising, tents, tree house
U – Urs x 2 under consideration
V – Vehicle, vast landscape, volunteers
W – wall, water , wilhemina
X – Men at night
Y – Why did I have to build a wall
Z – zebra

Elephant standing in the shade

A long way across the ocean do a nude, brown land full of sunburnt country, nude sweeping plains and unbelievable sunsets/sunrises – this is Namibia and EHRA.
One or rather I could not have imagined having organized such an adventure but having a commitment to elephants and their conservation, why not have both. It is difficult to describe the beauty darkness and majesty of Damaraland. It is a rewarding, demanding and interesting project.

Elephant Calf peeingBuild week -didn’t know what do expect-was aware of some of the politics, weather issues and drought or is it ignorance??? But was not aware of how the project worked. Only 3 days, learnt much. It does make sense.
I only hope that volunteers continue to support EHRA and spread the word. More instalments after tracking week.
Helen Daniel

EHRA's crew driving

I wake up around 6 or quarter past 6. I can’t be too sure. The sun hatches in the horizon around that time. I liberate myself from the hot tent to frequent the toilet in response to the call of nature. My eyes fall on one of the volunteers standing transfixed and looking at the immediate fire area. The individual says and goes over to his duty roster partner to ask for clarity on how to start the fire. I reflect on the whole event, laugh briefly to myself and continue with my journey to the toilet that is. On arrival, a baboon notices my presence and cowards away from me and eventually disappears behind the mountain. At that point I knew he, together with his pride were guilty for creating that terrible noise that woke me up in the dying moments of the night. …..”No wonder why he ran away”. I think further from the recipe that is being cooked today, I know patrol is a day’s time away. Normally the day before patrol we have a braai, only some individuals know why. This is going to be my last patrol. You can never see so much elephants in a day as you can see the Ugab elephants. The first day that I met them, I had a preconceived notion that they would charge towards our vehicle and start violence with us. To my dismay, these elephants were calm and composed. They looked like a big rock from a considerable distance and when we drove over to them, they would only look up once and continue minding their business of eating shrubs, grass, or something I don’t really know. It seemingly appeared they don’t notice our presence. Ever since these elephants fascinated me and provoked an interest to learn more about them. When our two guides, Chris and Mattias talks about the Ugab elephants I give my undivided attention and curiously listen to register and digest the information. No one person that I came to know in my entire life hitherto know these elephants as the way they knew them. The elephants, Voortrekker has been at the helm of my fascination. He had thick tusks and a beautiful piece of gigantic body. I swear I had never seen on any elephant I laid my eyes on. He was a lovely workmanship of God. It is elephants like him, together with the people I met during my stay here at EHRA that will play a leading role in the lovely memories I would pack home with me to Windhoek when I depart.

Garuan Gariseb – Intern

Laundry tree

A-Z of African Elephant

A – African elephants
B – Big elephant
C – Carissa, Cheeky
D – Daphne, dung
E – Elephant
F – Fun
G – G6, grey
H – Herd
I – Ivory
J- Joy
K –
L –
M – Medusa Africa
N – Namibia
O –
The whole experience has been rewarding and challenging. The country has a magnet around it, especially Brandberg (reminds me of the Ugab spiritual mystical and ethereal) Landscapes that look lunar in appearance, dry riverbeds, amazing geological formations the vast horizon full of encompass raw beauty, harsh and unforgiving without rain – but still in all this the spirit of the people shines through with laughter, wisdom and acceptance.
Wow the project
The searching for elephants was exciting and eventually rewarding – watching and appreciating the tracking
My prayer is that these elephants stay free, roam free without man’s influence and their group grows. The camping out under a majesty of diamonds and a full moon feels blessed. Food fit for a king. Rock climbing to look for elephants and a rhino search.
Sad that now wildlife has disappeared but thankful for some zebra, oryx, ostrich. Thank you to all the volunteers, Mattias, Hendrick and all else who helped make my day immensely rewarding.
Helen Daniels(Queensland, Australia)

Volunteer carrying a rockMay ,15 2015 – Swakop
A resume
:) silence in the desert :(Traffic noise in Swakopmund
:) nice recipes :( Hard work to clean BIG pots
:) Winning in shithead :( Winning in shithead
:) Only a few snores :( Being one of them?
:) Sleeping under the stars :( Villa Wiese
:) Coffee in the bed in the morning :( C+M/C/ strong C/R+M+5S/
(c=coffee, M-Milk, S=Sugar, T=Tea,
R=Rooibos, RC=Real Coffee)

Volunteer guys on duty

:) Nice stone placed on the wall :( Mattias taking it away
:) Beer from Ugab mall :( Is it cold?”depends on the room temperature” 
:) Shade spending mopane tree :( Mopane bees
:) Getting pics from Jill :( “System error” on my camera
:) Finding Rhino Abel beside the street :( Tracking Abel for hours
:) Hot nice weather during build and patrol week :( Cold at Swakop
:) Driving with the defender in rough terrain :( Flying back home with Swiss airlines
Thanks for everything
Woody –Urs, Switzerland

Volunteers walkin with waterbottels on their heads

Volunteer blog 6th – 7th April 2015

Patrol week – 13/04 to 16/04

Can you imagine going on patrol week and not seeing elephants after an exhausting building week? That’s what happened to us. Well, at lease on the first day, but there’s no need to be upset: once you get over that frustrating first day, you realize there’s an amazing day just around the corner. And then you get to see elephants (finally), Zebras, Giraffes and all kinds of adventures. You go to bed on this beautiful place with a feeling that, in the end, it’s all worth it!
It’s worth all the wheelbarrows of cement, the heavy rocks, the freaky insects, because after you call it a day, you realize life is so much more than what you’ve used to. It’s not just about your own world, but it’s about a wild world so full of life that makes you feel small in a good way. You feel small because you can see how big this world is, and how many precious lives are within. You’re not just a mere human being, you are part of something bigger, and that’s awesome.
So let’s not let ourselves down, cause after the storm comes the rainbow. Meaning: After a long building week and fruitless day, you can’t always see that the best it’s yet to come, and it hits you hard on the face!
So work hard and enjoy whatever comes, cause what came this week was just so fetch( I’m not trying to make fetch happens, seriously) If you get it, we need to be friends.
Julia Willich
Brazil – 2015


Volunteer Blog 20April – 1 May 2015

An elephant eatingWork week 20th – 25th April

Work week was really enjoyable, our task was to build the foundations for a circular defensive wall around a windmill tower water pump and a well to head height.

On arrival we drove up to the site to drop the materials and tools and then set up camp about ¼ of a mile below, amongst a group of taller trees. The mini-bus got a puncture, but we managed to get it to the camp to change the tyre, so it didn’t really delay our work. The first full work on the site was to collect sand and then several trailers of stones and dig out the foundations – This was hard work and quite a shallow trench as the ground was extremely rocky.

Elephants playing
The start on the foundations was delayed a little due to water politics – we had to wait for a tanker to arrive to fill the small reservoir tank.
When we were collecting rocks we saw a few black and white scorpions and some small light green lizards. We put in the foundations the built up the wall around 50% to waist height the rest to about ¾ meter height. The whole week was really enjoyable and everybody worked really hard – good team work and lots of enthusiasm: and great food! All of which left me feeling that I would have liked to stay longer-very happy to have done another week and would love to come back again – thank you to everyone for making it such a great week.

Volunteers pushinmg wheel borrows

I want to start my first sentence by saying that I am happy to be part of the EHRA team of 2015 that will be contributing to the conservation efforts of the Kunene and Erongo region. My 3 weeks here at EHRA has been a continuous process of learning. I learn on the ground and I learn more every week. I still have 5 more weeks to go as a volunteer/intern which I am eagerly looking forward to in anticipation. I have to admit to myself that build week is really tough, namely because you work under the mean deserted climate of Damaraland mixing cement and building the wall. However, we don’t build this walls because we are bricklayers, we build this walls to avoid and / or mitigate human – wildlife conflict as part of the conservation efforts and it is for a cause that sees towards a better relations between elephants and humans. The second week is more relaxed, we do patrolling to monitor population numbers of elephants as well as other game, overlapping into anti-poaching activities such as watching suspicious methodological activities of potential poaching in the respective areas where we camp.

Volunteer carrying water
The lackadaisical attempts by functionary ministries to address the issue of poaching is taking us to the some pariah status of Zimbabwe and EHRA has been working independently, doing patrols to make sure that these animals are conserved, that there is a peaceful co-existence between elephants and humans in Damaraland which is one of the main tourist hotspots in Namibia. I am welcoming and congratulating these attempts by EHRA in the name of tourism because if we don’t conserve and protect our wildlife now, we won’t have a tourism industry tomorrow. Namibia is lauded as the first country in Africa to adopt the protection of its environment in the constitution and we are doing good tourism-wise. It is true that our tourism industry is starting to be frustrated by poaching which is like a cancer eating the industry from the core, however I am highly optimistic that this systematic killings we read in newspapers will stop if we have an EHRA in more parts of the country to fast-track our conservation efforts. All in all, I am happy, I was inaugurated as an EHRA member and got my EHRA t-shirt and looking forward to tomorrows elephants patrol. Auf wietersehen!!!
Garuan Gariseb – Internwith EHRA. BA (Hons) Tourism Management from the University of Namibia

Elephant playing with sand

Thursday April 30, 2015
It was first time in Africa and my trip with EHRA was everything I could hope for: adventure, education, an opportunity to contribute and to meet really great people from all different countries. Oh yeah, elephants, zebra, springbok, kudu, giraffe, ostrich, oryx and rhino too!
I also want to give a special shout out to Jill. The airlines lost my bag and I didn’t see it for 5 days. Jill leant or shared everything from t-shirt to toothpaste, water bottle and even a camera. Also thanks to Mattias Chris for their knowledge, tracking skill and tutor talk.
Deborah (doesn’t want to leave) USA

Elephant Cheeky

Thursday 30th April 2015
To see elephants in the wild has been a long held dream for me – since I was a child – This is the first time I have been in Southern Africa and my first opportunity to see wild elephants. Monday the 27 was therefore amazing for me to be so close up to the G6 group was deeply emotional and intense experience. So the next day was simply mind blowing to come in and amongst the Mamma Africa group with other males and a smaller group 23 elephants and to be within their collective and watch their interactions was beyond my wildest dreams. Nothing could top this – I thought – but then on Wednesday we saw the G6 group again and 3 males and one of the males Cheeky came right up to the truck and put on a sand bath display – then we watched the three males in a bonding – greeting: I cannot really find the words to describe being in their space – it was one of the most amazing three days of my life. I am very grateful to EHRA for making this possible, and to all of the fellow volunteers on the two weeks for making it all such a wonderful experience.
Thanks to everyone and especially to the EHRA staff for providing the possibility to meet the elephants in such a natural space….

Volunteers mixing cement

Two weeks with EHRA (20th April – May 1 2015)
– Sleeping in the big Anna tree – lovely beyond imagination
– The southern constellations, about which I learned a lot and who became friends
– The big open space of Damaraland – open space like the beginning of time and mankind
– The feeling of coming to a place where man (are at home) have originated from, of coming home (sounds kitsch, but that’s how it felt)
– Meeting local people/ farmers not as a guest in a lodge, but with a shovel, mixing cement…
– Seeing and watching all these animals, above all, the elephants…das Olifant”
– The campfires on Patrol
– Meeting the baboons, the Go-Away-Birds, the Lizards…
Thank you everybody and God bless you all. Blessing to all who care for our mother-earth and her creatures.
Special thanks to Mattias (Alles Super!), Garuan – strongest guy, Jill – the most immaculate guide, Chris Monsieur,,Gudden”, and all the lovely co-volunteers.
Urte (from Germany) 30th April 2015

Elephant in rocks

Two weeks – this is too short a time for such a magical, marvellous, enriching experience here with EHRA. I never thought that mixing cement and setting stones in place in the desert heat could be so much fun! The energy created by everybody working together with such enthusiasm and humour helped me to do things I never knew I could, and I will take that home with me. Then the patrol week – I have travelled a lot, and had wonderful experiences among wild beings – but this has been one of the very best. It is so very special to meet the elephants when you have spent a week working to help make their lives here easier, and help the people live with them without conflict. How wonderful not to be a safari tourist among these majestic beings – thank you to everybody for making this possible – Chris for his amazing skills and experience, Jill for all her dedication and care for everybody and for her impeccable elegance in the bush! And to all my fellow volunteers and Mattias for the laughs!

Thank you and blessings

Volunteer group picture

Volunteer Blog – 23rd March – 3rd April

EHRA volunteers group photoMarch 27,2015 “The best investment one can make is to invest in people. Investing in people yields the greatest wealth.” – Tate Mattias Senior (B.J) Elephants standingApril 2015 We’ve just finished 2 weeks in the bush. It’s difficult to capture in words the experience of landing in Namibia and starting the EHRA build within 24 hours or so. All I can say is, it’s been one of the best and most satisfying experiences of my life. I love the EHRA model: simple and strategic intention that is at once tangible and effective. Big ups to our leader Chris, who is a great blend of knowledge, authority and fun. Not an easy balance to strike with a bunch of rookie wall builders in this environment. The land is absolutely stunning as well as harsh, filled with beauty and just a little bit of danger. I felt completely safe under Chris’ guidance and leadership. I’m in for another two weeks and one am looking forward to it – we will finish our wall, and that will be a great feeling. Rebecca, USA Volunteers busy building

Volunteer Blog 23 February – 6 March 2015

???????????????????????????????Build Week 23 – 27 February 2015

This trip started off with only 5 volunteers attending the meeting at Villa Wiese on Sunday evening. Fortunately the three missing girls arrived on Monday morning in time to go shopping before we left…
After the first night at Base camp we repacked our bags, loaded the cars and headed for the building site. It was a long drive on bumpy roads, but we got there shortly after lunch to find the half-finished wall that had been started 4 weeks earlier. Camp was set up, brand new work gloves taken out, water bottles filled up and sun screen put on before we went off to get our first load of rocks. As the days went by, we could see the wall growing bit by bit. Every time we switched the pump on to get water for mixing the cement, the goats and cows came running to get their share to drink. It was hot, so we kept drinking lots of water, used some rehydration sachets (or de-hydration sachets?!) even though they taste like ten dead Zebras…..The shower from the pipe was well received by some of us – thanks Chris! By Thursday afternoon the wall was finished – it looked nice! On Friday morning we packed up camp and hit the road again. With not everybody feeling well, we had to make a bit of a plan, but we managed to get back to Base camp safely. In the meantime the message that an elephant was stuck in the mud and needed help reached Chris, so we got buckets and water and climbed straight back onto the car. The plan was to cool the animal by throwing water on it, but the elephant had obviously sensed it and didn’t want to meet a bunch of EHRA volunteer, so it managed to free itself just before we got there! Mattias tried to follow it, but the elephant was moving faster than we could drive….so we had a late lunch and then drove back to Base camp to enjoy the well-deserved showers!
Katrin, Switzerland

???????????????????????????????Things I won’t easily forget
1. Taking a shower after a week of hours work is the most enjoyable thing on earth. You’re covered in sand and dirt and you’re finally able to wash it all off. It just gives you such a relief, it’s unbelievable. I never thought taking a shower could be so great.
2. Here at the main camp, there is a very wide spraying shower in open air. If the sun shines in it and you stand right in the middle, you’re able to see a 360 degrees rainbow. You can just look to every direction you like and keep on seeing it. It’s like you’re in an imaginary world.
3. There are some places in Namibia where there is a 360 degrees horizon. It gives you a feeling like you’re in space, where you can see everything around you in a range of hundreds of kilometers. It’s so amazing that you can’t avoid shedding tears of happiness, and it just gets you thinking how small we actually are on this earth.
4. Sleeping in open air is great. Here at the main camp, we sleep in a big tree with a platform where we can put our sleeping bags on. If you pick the right spot, you have a perfect view on the overly bright stars. Before you go to sleep you can look at those stars, listening to the wildlife coming out at night. Nothing is better than doing that before you go to sleep.
5. Sitting on the highest mountain top gives you such a free feeling. It lets you think that you literally and figurally are on the top of the world. The strong wind in your hair, the adrenaline and the wide view are enough to actually give you some life visions of what you want to do in your life. It’s like you gain spirituality and creativity when you’re so high in the sky. This is where I actually wrote these 5 notes.
Alexander Meeus
18 year old
First week

Elephant dust