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|December 4, 2010 - Laurie Macha|
|Well, today is my last day working at SANCCOB with the staff and penguins. Yesterday Nola asked where I would like to work for my last day. I had experienced all of the areas, so it was just a matter of thinking where my favorite place was.....I guess it would be Pen 8 with #600! There are four pens in pen 8, A which is on BID formula, B, C and D which are all OID formula. #600 is in pen C. I was assigned as supervisor of the pen and I had Zak as my volunteer. I spoke to him about being able to work in pen C for most of the day and he was very happy to let that happen. I started at 7:30am when I came in early to give formula to pen A. At 8am we had our meeting and then it was off for darrows, then pen cleaning. Once we finished cleaning the pens and switched birds into clean pens it was time for their fish feeding. Zak took pens A an B, and I took pens C and D. Each of us fed about 40 chicks. These chicks are the chicks from pen 10 from last week and they are looking spectacular. They started to free feed and are ravenous little ones. We also got in nice small fish that they are just gobbling up. I have many more bites on my arms – you just can't feed them fast enough. I have now nicknamed this pen the velociraptors (they can't be the terrro-dactyls, because they have their feathers). It was a really calm day all day for us and I really feel that I understand all of the routines and how SANCCOB organizes everything. Just in time for me to leave. I tubed chicks 120 times today and the very last chick that I tubed settled down for the delivery of formula, I pulled the tube and then he bit me. As I finished I realized as tired as I am and how hard the work is, I really don't want to leave. These chicks have become a part of my heart and they will always be on my mind. I hope that they all make it to release and may they find fish to fill their bellies. As the last part of my day it was time to feed again. I had to adjust my organization of the pen and put the food bin on a chair. #600 saw that if it was low enough, he could jump into the bin and help himself. Yesterday morning he got four fish and today I think he's a little full and not quite as rambunctious as usual. He's a very fat little chick and healthy looking. To my surprise, every single bird in C and D ate on their own. I gently picked them up and stood them on the bench between my legs and just handed them a fish. It was taken soooo quickly that it was like putting an envelope in a mail box. It was a perfect way to end my day. So, as my final note to my journal, I am leaving tomorrow and find it a very difficult and emotional parting. I feel that in such a short time I have become part of the SANCCOB family. I just want to reflect on a few of the staff so that if you ever have the opportunity to come down this way, you will already have met and know these wonderful folks: Marlei is an incredibly warm, elegant and beautiful person. Her smile, warmth and organization are such assets to the function of the team. Carole is a very genuine and friendly person. She doesn't say too much but when she does you should listen because it's very important and she has a sense of humor that you might miss. She has helped me through many of my technical issues and always comes by very quietly to make sure that everything is going ok. Margaret carries such heart and warmth and is an inspiration for SANCCOB. This is the second time I've met Margaret and I feel like I've known her for years. She handles the marketing and PR for SANCCOB and has helped our institutions to become the team that we are today. Nola is truly a funny and honest person. She's a wonderful vet (and many of you know I have coined her the penguin whisperer) and lives true to her convictions. Sorry again, about the flipper in the eye – please remember purple after I'm gone! I always find myself laughing when I'm with Nola. She helps to ease any stress with her stories of penguins and the cow! Venessa, the heart and soul of SANCCOB. Venessa is gracious, beautiful, warm and caring. Her accent is also magnificent (really I'm not the one with the accent). She greeted me each morning with a smile, asked how my day was going and entertained all of our requests for Skype. I know her days are so busy, but there was never a day or a request that she didn't embrace and respond, of course we can do that. These are just a few of the staff and volunteers. There are so many that make the team work. Thank you to all “bie a donke” for all of your help and friendship. I feel that I have made so many deep friendships while I was here in South Africa and will keep everyone in my heart. It's going to be a difficult day tomorrow to say good bye to everyone and the little chicks. So long from South Africa!|
Skittish African Penguins cross a road on Robben Island in South Africa.
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