Carter Weekes is a Private Wealth trainee officer on the Discovery Programme in Jersey. It’s a two year programme that allows trainees to work in different departments in the Jersey office and also take a three-month sabbatical.
Carter made use of his time out from IQ-EQ, by working at a Game Reserve in South Africa for two months, before taking in some European destinations (Lake Como, Italy, Budapest and Amsterdam).
To begin with, Carter travelled to Port Elizabeth, South Africa, to return to Kwantu Game Reserve, a Game Reserve that he’d previously volunteered at, back in 2019 with his girlfriend.
Breakfast was at 8:30am, with the first bit of work starting at 10am, stopping for lunch at 1pm and then continuing work at 2:30pm. The list of activities included:
- Game counts - driving through the reserve doing a head count of specific animal breeds such as springbok or zebra, to make sure not too many had been killed or that they weren’t overpopulating
- Game drive - all the animals in the reserve were wild, they did not interfere with their lives but rather just observed and monitored them
- Rehabilitation feeding - the rehabilitation centre was full of big cats (lions, tigers, cheetahs) who had been rescued from circuses and private homes. They fed them raw meat and checked their condition so that eventually they could be released back into the wild
- Planting - planting different types of plants and trees that were beneficial for the environment, whether that be as food for the herbivores, or nutrients for surrounding habitat
- Tree-chopping and cactus-chopping - removing alien vegetation or plants that had no benefit to the surrounding environment, removing cactus plants which were destructive to surrounding plants
- Visit to the school - Kwantu provided meals to the local school, they would serve the food and play with the kids
- Road maintenance - where animals and vehicles had eroded the roads, they would collect rocks and soil and fix them
- Road clearing - chopping and cutting back any vegetation that was blocking paths and roads on the reserve
- Fence clearing and patrol - checking and removing grass and plants near the fences which could cause shorting. Meaning the fences would be vulnerable!
Carter commented:” It was lovely to see that the workers all recognised me from my previous trip. We learnt about the animals and environment we were caring for, such as how and what they eat, their instincts and defence mechanisms, and impact on the environment, which gave great insight into the animal world.
I’d have to say that my favourite moments were firstly meeting a wide variety of people from different walks of life, which gave me new insight into cultural differences and how it affects my day-to-day life, as well as, increasing my connections around the world. I now have connections in Germany, Belgium, Denmark, America and of course South Africa to name a few!
Another favourite moment of mine was seeing the animals up close, especially washing, feeding and walking the African elephants. At the weekends we travelled to nearby towns such as Port Elizabeth, Jeffrey’s Bay and Plettenburg Bay, where we did skydiving and elephant walks and feeding.”
What a wonderful experience - meeting people from around the world, experiencing different cultures and helping these magnificent animals thrive in their environment. Well done Carter!
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