Adventures in the Bush...

“The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration.”
~Claude Monet

African Map from the Youth Center 
Second week into the month long project are being spent in the hot, humid, sticky African sun. The weather reminds me of Japanese summer & Australian summer tied into what I’ve been experience as African summer.  Best to keep on reminding myself to stay hydrated. I’m getting my fair share of conservation intensive labor this week with digging a watering hole for the wildlife right next to the posh Thanda Resort. It was a pretty intense morning with starting at around 5:30AM to miss the blazing sun & heat. Basically we took pix ax & spade hammers to chiseled out the hole & mixed it with cement before the backhoe came to smooth it all out. One of the afternoons, I went to Youth Center to hang out with the local primary school kids after school program.  I did volunteer reading the rules out while Ziggy (the community leader) translated them into Zulu for me. The experience really reminded me of my interactions with the kids back in Japan with the interaction as a cultural exchange lesson.  The kids were great; all were curious & just full of life. It’s nice to see shining smiles radiated with happiness. Thinking about my “jikoshokai” for later this week. This time it's for some Zulu high school students, however, I'll probably be thinking in Nihongo on how to say it...some things are just like riding a bike again with the community outreach stuff. I really haven’t done any of it since my days back in Matsue many moons ago. I’m excited to interact with the children.
In case any one would like to help out the best way is to support the charity, The Happy African Foundation, they have a partnership with African Impact. The Happy African Foundation’s (THAF) motto is to “educated, enrich & empower” the local communities. They have a few projects in the Thanda Region of KwaZulu-Natal. Any amount would be greatly appreciated! In case your wondering how to help out! Money is the best way to reach out cos it goes directly to the program’s funding & community outreach programs.
Each week our guide/naturalist changes, it’s nice to get to see another perspective of the knowledge of them. I’ve been learning a lot about the communities, wildlife, plants & eco systems.
Some of my highlights of the week have been seeing a newborn baby buffalo days old that still had its placenta still attached. I had the pleasure of going on a night drive for the first time. I will admit that it was my first time experimenting with night photography without a tripod, in that case I had to crank up my ISO to the highest it would go & make sure that I shoot at 60th of second or faster with a low F-stop. I had the privilege of seeing a pride of lions, rabbit, zebra, genest & antelope just a few of the many night crawlers, still no sign of the famous leopard.  It was so nice to be out breathing the night air, star gazing at the Southern Sky, seeing the Southern Cross, smelling the trees & being one with nature for an amazing reset of the chakras. I had the privilege to go to Mkuze for a game drive & to play out in the hides looking for animals & taking photos.  It was nice to get away from Thanda a bit, seeing another part of region & seeing some different animals in particular the hippo, monkey & baboons.
My time here has been devoted to sharpen my photography skills. I have learnt loads of information these days & a few new tricks in Lightroom. This week was a wee bit laid back from not having extremely long photography lectures but rather doing what I love doing, shooting & playing with post production. It’s nice to work in a small group amongst fellow photographer along with the photography coordinator; it’s nice to see the passion.  It was nice that the photography coordinator asked myself & my fellow photo friends to brainstorm new was to promote conservation awareness of the beautiful Thanda region to help others. Hopefully, something good will come out all of this hard work that I’m doing on many levels.

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