Having previously volunteered with another project in Africa, I was excited at the prospect of returning and looked into several projects trying to find my best fit. I was interested in a project that involved conservation, community work, as well as the opportunity to work closely with animals. Imire not only met these expectations, but went above and beyond in what it offered.
From the moment I arrived at Imire, I felt welcomed. The staff working with the volunteers, the animal handlers, as well as any other staff member I met along the way went out of their way to make sure I felt happy and comfortable the entire time I was there. Between the staff and other volunteers, I was able to meet some truly wonderful people, and made lifelong friendships.
No matter what job we were asked to do, I always felt that it was something that needed to be done, and we were truly being helpful. In addition to working with the elephants and rhinos, we had many other jobs, ranging from painting fence posts to keep termites away, using machetes to chop down the invasive Jacaranda trees, working in the vegetable garden, and helping out at the local school - I enjoyed every job we did. The people at Imire made sure that every job was fun, making some of the tasks I wouldn't normally think I'd enjoy (removing fences, chopping Jacarandas) into some of the most fun jobs I did while I was there.
Imire is a truly wonderful place and I have nothing but great things to say about the time I spent there. I was able to experience and learn so many amazing things, including swimming with the elephants, riding the elephants while they learn to track poachers, hand feeding the rhinos after work and taking a trip to see Victoria Falls (Imire staff booked the whole trip for me). I've only been home a few weeks, and I already miss Imire immensely. It's hard to describe how wonderful my time there was, and I can't thank Imire enough for the amazing experience they provided me; I know my memories will last a lifetime.
I would recommend this program to anyone. So if you're considering going to volunteer there, all I have to say is.....GO!!
I know i'll be going back!