Blog Post 1, 15th March 2018
Conservation Through Sustainable Community Development . — ABCF
Updates – Umtshibi Camp Pre-School
One of the focus’ of my trip to Africa was to visit the Umtshibi Camp in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, particularly its pre-school. The pre-school when I arrived was undergoing drastic updates to improve the facilities of the school to aid learning and enable the comfort of the children
in this space. The children who attend the school are the children of the rangers (Park Teams) so the updating of the facilities is also going to allow for them to be able to fully focus on their protection of the environment and the animals in the park.
The walls of the classrooms have been painted bright colours to provide the children with a bright learning space. They are just finishing up a new play area outside the school, with swings a slide and a merry-go-round and again it incorporates bright colours. New child friendly toilet facilities are also being finished off, which means the children now have separate facilities to the rest of the community.
The Foundation is now currently working on equipping the school with new and useful education tools and furniture in order to continue to increase the comfort of the children and to create an encouraging environment for learning.
I met Yvonne on my trip with ABC. She really encouraged and inspired me to get involved with the work that ABCF carry out. She’s works tirelessly to raise awareness for ABCF and has a kind, caring and happy energy that just lights up a room! Here’s some words on Yvonne’s work. I miss you Yvonne!
Yvonne Bahlangene – the story of a passionate ambassador
Yvonne with Village Elders at Mambanje Village
Yvonne Bahlangene was born in Gweru Midlands part of the Zimbabwe. She did her primary education and part of her high school in the capital, Harare, and finished at a boarding school in Gweru. After which she attended her University in Australia and returned home to Zimbabwe in 2013 December. In Australia she obtained a diploma in Hospitality as well as Diploma in Commerce. She worked at Jojo’s restaurant in Brisbane for 5 years and that is where she received extensive training in the Hospitality industry. Having worked under the watchful eye of a Queensland icon in Australia, who is very involved in charity within the Brisbane community, it was only natural for Yvonne to find a job within an organisation that gives back to the community, she says it is one on the main reasons she joined African Bush Camps as a Hostess at Somalisa Camp in March 2014. In 2015 she became assistant manager and in 2016 she dedicated her energy as an Ambassador for the African Bush Camp Foundation, whilst still serving as a Guest Service Officer for African Bush Camps.
Speaking with Community Members and guests about the work of ABCF
Yvonne enjoys working with children. She also works working closely with the different education, scholarship, income generating and community empowerment programs we support within the communities the Foundation partners with. As Yvonne spends a fair amount of time in camps, she meets guests on a regular basis and is a source of information and inspiration for safari goers wanting to find out more and get involved with the work the Foundation does.
Yvonne with Ellie Bamber, Ambassador for ABCF in the UK
Yvonne is a social butterfly, she enjoys meeting people and travelling. She also enjoys accompanying guests on Village Tours, which are great opportunities for insight into the work and people behind ABCF projects; aimed at empowering communities and individuals to thrive, enjoy value and harmony in the beautiful, natural areas they live within.
A species led by Matriarchs
With the rise of the #MeToo movement in Hollywood and drive for equality, which is currently at the forefront of everyone’s minds I thought it might be apt to hear about some very, very strong females!!
Insights from Makhosi Ncube – African Bush Camps Guide at Somalisa Camp, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
It’s been said that the most successful and thriving societies are those led by females. It’s hard to disprove that when you look at the elephants. Led by the oldest female, referred to as the matriarch. It is this amazing lady who holds the fate of the rest of the herd in her brain. Where they go, where they eat and drink, it’s all on her.
Elephants possess an unbelievable source of intelligence with their sense of the memory been second to none, passed on from female to female ensuring the knowledge is never lost, something we humans have a hard time doing. So high is their intelligence that of all animals the elephant is one of two that are able to recognise themselves in the mirror. They are capable of empathy as well, known to take care of their sick, chewing food for them. Helping take care of the other herd members.
The beauty is while males will leave the herd by the age of 10-15, the females on the other hand will stay together for life. Just like humans they are capable of a wide range of emotions, from celebrating the birth of a new one to mourning the death of a loved one. Just like we hug and celebrate when meeting our loved ones after prolonged absence so do elephants. The celebration is a sight to behold, trumpeting loudly and turning round in circles in a clumsily but elegant waltz as if auditioning for Strictly Come Dancing.
One of the most amazing tools they possess would have to be the trunk, made up of over 150 000 muscles, a combination of nose and upper lip, capable of so much from pushed down trees, stripping leaves of branches to picking up objects as small as a grain of rice.
It is our duty to protect these magnificent gentle giants whose teeth (tusks) have seen being persecuted and hunted. It is our duty to see to it that future generations get to experience and see these magnificent animals.
All images taken by Makhosi Ncube in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll be posting again in a few months time. Do get in contact in the questions sections if you have any queries regarding ABCF.
Love Ellie B xxx
The Foundation’s mission is to partner with these surrounding communities to improve their quality of life and achieve long-term conservation through its partnerships. By directly linking these benefits to tourism these communities learn to positively value wildlife and nature as resources for improving their well-being. Learn more and support the work being done here – http://www.africanbushcampsfoundation.org/about-us/