Swimming Elephants & Lions

After a quick trip to the States and back, I arrived back at Antelope Park in Gweru, Zimbabwe on Monday the 8th.  The jet lag this time really did me in, and it took a couple days in Seattle to get on local time there, only to turn around a few days later and get back on a plane for two and a half days to return to Africa, where it took the better part of a week to recover from the jet lag on this end.  Perhaps not my most brilliant move, but I was keen to jump right into my internship and hit the ground running, which proved to be no problem, as there is plenty to do here.

I’m doing a split internship of project management, where all my work experience can be used, and animal management, which is where my heart is, and hopefully my future.  I was able to work with the team here this last week to put together their first presentation of achievements and awards, and it came together very well and was a really fun evening to see what’s been achieved in just the last couple of weeks and to recognize all of the volunteers in a fun and meaningful way.  By the weekend I was ready to get outside and spend time with the animals, and after nearly two weeks of not seeing the lions, it was so great to go on a couple of walks with them.  I swear they have grown in just those two weeks, and it felt like forever since I had seen them.  Saturday afternoon’s walk was with Africa and Alika, and she stalked and hunted as usual, which is always great to see.  Sunday afternoon’s walk was with Arusha and Amani, all fat-bellied from eating earlier in the day, walking down to the river where they love to splash around and wrestle with each other.  Watching lions swim pretty much wins.

I also had a front row seat to seeing the elephants play in the water and graze along the shore one afternoon, as I sat with a view of the river and did some work.  The setting of this place is really beautiful, and every day brings something new.  I often like starting my day with a lion walk, in the early morning light that is perfect for photos, and end the day with an elephant walk, which is very peaceful and zen.

This morning I set up project board on an empty wall that I found, essentially a scrum task board, which I plan to try as a way to bring visibility to the existing work here.  We’ll see how it goes, and tweak as necessary.  My goal is to create things that have near immediate benefit, and that are easily repeatable in the future.  Or that can be retired once they serve their purpose.  Most people here are overloaded, so it’s a balance of some up-front additional work for the longer term gain of improving efficiency and information radiation to others.  Agile in Africa.  You know it.  Whee!

7 thoughts on “Swimming Elephants & Lions

  1. jenndn

    Stace-I smiled when I read that you started the day with a lion walk and ended the day with an elephant walk–no big deal here, people. And I love that you’re utilizing your hard earned work skills and combining them with longtime dreams and passion–they are lucky to have you (two & four leggeds alike). Yay for you!! Miss and love you bunches. XOXO

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If anyone knows what this means to me, it’s you. Each day is full of “pinch me” moments, where I have to stop and give a moment of appreciation for being in this amazing place. Right now as I type this, elephants are grazing on the side of the river, quietly flapping their ears and tails as they pull up grass and plants with their trunks. Later, I’ll go greet the lions in their enclosure, while they rub the sides of their faces along the fence while vocalizing their greetings, bounding out of their enclosures with excitement for what they might find as they explore the grasslands and bush, where we might see giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, impala, water buck, etc. Wish you were here!

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  2. What a wonderful experience and such a fantastic way to start your day. I am indeed envious. It is a dream and you are definitely doing it. Adore your pictures!!! You are a fantastic photographer. Thank you so much for sharing!! Gerald would have been enthralled!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! This trip in particular has made me want to be a better photographer, as we’ve had some incredible photographers here that have been a real inspiration. And I like to think that he is following along, since he was a big part of what motivated me to do all of this. The beauty of his spirit lives on, in all of us, every day.

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  3. Andy Achatz

    Hi daughter I have been out for a but now time to catch up. Whats been
    happening with your journey in march. Also I am wishing you a terrific B-day and am so glad that you are able to spend it doing what you really want to do. I am so very proud of you, love dad.

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