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|August 3, 2010|
|I officially made it! I got here to Cape Town late last night and was met at the airport by Remo, my driver and owner of the lodge where I am staying. I had a hard time sleeping, though, since it was only technically 5 p.m. at home. But I still woke up early this morning and found my way to SANCCOB with the other volunteers at my hotel. There is a lot of diversity here. I am staying and working with people from Germany, France, Holland, Australia, Great Britain and, of course, South Africa. So far, the facility is amazing and the people are so friendly. Nola and Marlei of SANCCOB have been busy breaking me in. I have already helped with two physical exams and watched several other treatments. They say they don't have many birds here at this time, but to me, it seems like a lot. I can't even begin to describe some of things I have already seen in my first few hours here. Penguins with shark and seal bites, penguins with amputated legs or digits, gannets with broken wings, blind birds, flea-infested birds... It's truly heart wrenching. They just received two new juveniles from Robben Island today, making a total of 200 birds for the year! They also released five penguins today. Nola is working with me mostly in the lab, teaching me how to run all the samples for the health assessment study. It looks like we will be heading to Dyer and maybe Dassen Islands this week, and we will go to Robben next week. On the days we are not on the islands, I will mostly be running the blood samples and entering data for the project. I just had my first trip to the grocery store for lunch. I sadly don't know how much I just spent! I am still trying to do the conversion of South Africa’s rands to U.S. dollars in my head! I will update again soon. In the meantime, I am here and safe and just beside myself!|
Skittish African Penguins cross a road on Robben Island in South Africa.
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