Saturday, October 11, 2014

They say the Pen is mightier than the Sword, so I armed myself with both

NOTE: This was moved from another blog I tried, but I want to move all posts to one place! It was originally posted 24 November 2012.

Sometimes, dreams really do come true. Unexpectedly, one of mine did a couple of months ago!

My maritime heritage
I grew up as a tomboy with an insatiable appetite for books, which meant I was able to experience any adventure I wanted, through the characters of the books I read. Generally, the boys get to do all the awesome stuff in books, so I would imitate them in my own mini versions of the adventure in our garden. Trees were available for climbing, as long as it was not fruit season, and we had sticks or lego to build any weapon I needed. Sticks make brilliant swords and are much quicker to find than building a lego gun, so they were normally my first choice. In addition, sea water flows in my veins, thanks to my Captain Granda! Add imagination to a maritime heritage and the logical result is a fascination with pirates, ideally those on sailing ships fighting with swords. Add the romance of the swashbuckling hero (I was a tomboy, but all girls appreciate the romance side) and there is no wonder I decided that it would be amazing to take up a
An ocean swim makes everything better
sport where you actually get to play with swords.

Repeated online searches over the years always had me cursing the bigger cities, where I did not want to live, as they had multiple fencing clubs, while my amazing coastal home town had none. I resigned myself to a life without swordplay and turning to my naval heritage, headed off for a relaxing swim in the ocean. Until, one wonderful day not so long ago, when my friends commented they had spent their morning at the launch of a local fencing club! I was ecstatic and immediately signed up.

The first day of our Fencing Club
Almost three months later, I have developed an interesting collection of bruises, experienced sore muscles in places I did not even know muscles existed and had loads of fun. I know more French terms than a year's worth of High School French taught me and have met a new group of interesting people, who I often laugh with, regardless of who caused the latest bruise. I have learnt from my coaches as well as the more experienced members of the club and managed to place third in last months ranking. Last, but not least, my stress levels are way down. It is amazing how much stress can be released by attacking someone with a sword after a frustrating day! My appreciation for the sport has grown into a deep passion.

Not only is Ben Steffen a world class fencer,
but look how comfortable he is with my adorable Stars!
Two and a half months into my enhanced experience of life, it got even better. Our club coaches, together with SAAFA (South African Amateur Fencing Association), organized a weekend clinic with Swiss Fencer, Benjamin Steffen, who had the good sense to come to South Africa on holiday. Ben; who achieved the incredible feat of being 10th in the world, among other accolades; is not only a really good fencer, but a great coach/teacher (he makes everything fun, turns the boring stuff like warm up into a game, is incredibly approachable and always ready to answer questions or explain something again, even if it is just because some silly girl gets completely confused by left handers and needs it translated into right hand!), a fun person to be around
Learning from the master
(stomach muscles were sore from laughing as well as the numerous other muscles that suffered from the weekend) and he even likes reptiles!! We covered various different aspects of fencing, from warm up and footwork, to competition rules and equipment care (I found that super interesting, even though I did lose a screw - they would be easier to use under a microscope.) The whole weekend was such an incredible opportunity - to get a chance to learn from someone of that caliber. I was seriously inspired and encouraged, but there was still more amazing-ness to come in the weekend! In our last session, before we enjoyed a meal together and got to spend some social time as a club, Ben kitted up and gave us a chance to see what it is like to fence against a master! When you have been fencing for a couple of months, you know that any points you get in this bout will be gifts, but it was still an honour and loads of fun, even if I did walk away with a new bruise for the collection, (thanks to that flick that I still don't know how to do!!) My only complaint about the weekend, is that it was too short. My muscles however, do not agree with that statement.

There are only 4 sleeps left until the next ranking competition and my christmas present will include some basic fencing gear. I have decided I prefer French grip, even if there is only one other member of the club who understands that choice!! The sad part, is that I will have to wait until January sometime to use all of my new toys...

So, November rocked from a Fencing point of view, but it also included another new element of my life which was great fun. At some point during the year, I came across NaNoWriMo. The concept (write a 50 000 word novel during the month of November) really appealed to me as I have always wanted to see how I would do at writing and I signed up. All too quickly, November was here and with it came an unusual amount of work chaos (due to construction), preparation for a move to a new home on 1 December (which included hosting the parental squatters once their house was sold), an amazing fencing weekend, all the usual summer fun (beach walks with a labbie, ocean swims, reading outside in the sun, braais, etc, etc, etc) and only a vague idea of what my novel should be about. I decided to go for it anyway, but aimed to write something, not necessarily 50 000 words, as I wanted the enjoyment of the experience without any stress. This resulted in another new group of interesting people entering my life and a discovery that writing does not require as much imagination as I first assumed as the characters do what they want, regardless of the author. I had one who appeared even though his very presence made the concept of the novel impossible. Needless to say, he got killed off at some point along the way. I have taken part in a couple of challenges and won each one (the threat of pink will get me to do anything, as will the lure of dark chocolate). I still have some time left this month and am hoping to reach 25 000 words. For a newby who had a chaotic month, I think that is pretty good. Next year, I will put in some more preparation so I have a better concept of what will happen when (although probably not a file's worth of pages!) and unscheduled crises will be told to wait until December!

Sun, surf & sand with my Labbie
December looms, with sun and surf and sand, as each summer does here in the wonderful town I call home. My boys and I will move to a new home, where they will have their Grands on the property if I am away or busy, and I can stop paying off someone else's bond. Next year promises trips to Cape Town and Durban for fencing as well as Highland Games and friends. I know the year will also bring its own surprises, and I am excited to see what they are. This year I have been happy with my life, despite the politics of work, and it has just kept getting better. I know that this is mostly due to a state of mind and heart, long may it last!

Stay tuned, I will talk more about a whole variety of stuff from my unique life as I feel inspi

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Musing about my inheritance

Today we would be celebrating my granda's birthday, and even though he isn't around anymore, I am still celebrating. You see, he left me an inheritance flowing through my veins which I am now stepping into, thanks to some awesome influencers in my life this year. Granda is also the reason I am a child of Africa, so there is loads to celebrate on his birthday!!
You see, my grandfather was Captain Francis Basil Pounder of the British Merchant Navy. He was stranded in East London, South Africa during the war where he became good friends with a lady (that I only ever knew as Aunty Leona). When Granda managed to get the stuff to repair the ship and headed back to his wife in England they decided to make this new friend the godmother to their first daughter, Varla Christina (known as Nina). This happened to be my mom (but only much later in the story...) When Nina was 16, her godmother brought her to South Africa on holiday and they visited pretty much the entire country!! They even went to this museum and snake park complex in PE which had recently aquired some dolphins... (For those who haven't had their coffee yet, that is my current place of employment!) Fast forward a few years, Mom has just got married to Dad (wow, who else could it have been?) and he is offered a job in either Canada or South Africa (as both were in the process of starting TV and him working for the BBC...) Due to Mom's previous trip and desire to spend some time with her godmother, they chose sunny South Africa. One year was spent in Port Elizabeth and then they joined the great trek that many people take and moved to Johannesburg, where I was born (three years after the move, two years after my brother!) I grew up far away from the sea, but with this idealised notion of it, especially since Granda was this imagined figure who only existed on a telephone (he still lived in the UK with the rest of the family!) I finally met him in person just before turning 13 and absolutely adored him! I sadly only got to spend the two holidays with him (one in Scotland, one in SA) but always felt this connection with him and knew that the love I felt for the sea came from his blood running through my veins!
With those two influences, it wasn't really surprising I ended up studying in PE after school, or that I turned to a degree in Natural Science after an abortive attempt at teaching (my passions had always been children and nature - I even wanted to be a vegetarian (I liked big words but couldn't say them properly) surgeon at one stage). A slight detour (of 5 and a half years) into fulltime children's ministry (with another abandoned attempt to complete a teaching diploma) and I found myself back in a nature related job (working with the reptiles at that Snake Park complex my mom had visited all those years ago.) A couple of years of experience under my belt and I knew it was time to head back to the studying I had taken a break from. Yes, I signed up for my Zoology Honours degree part time last year and thoroughly enjoyed being back in the research world! I had however lost the deep passion I had for many things, including the sea. My undergrad courses had given by a variety of lecturers, but only one had shown me a passion for what he did and so I was aware that that field could inspire passion. I found myself drawn to the terrestrial ecology aspects of the work and away from the marine elements. My job with reptiles confirmed the interest I had in terrestrial work and I was pretty sure going into Honours that I would walk away as a herpetologist a few post grad degrees later. Year 1 of Honours goes according to plan with me choosing modules related to the terrestrial ecology side, with one exception: Coastal Zone Management! I can still not explain why I chose that course, but can see that God had his hand in the process. Although I found the course content boring (legislation will never be my favourite reading material) I found myself enjoying that course the most, due to a lecturer who make the work applicable and interesting and obviously had a passion for the work being done in those areas! She just made it fun. So, the attempts I had made to organise a reptile related project when no staff in the department do reptile work all fell through and I needed to choose a projecct for this year. I asked two lecturers if they had any honours projects available - the terrestrial ecology lecturer who had so inspired me in undergrad and the coastal zone lecturer who made the boring work fun. The coastal lecturer came up with a beach ecology project in tandem with one of her PhD students which they swore was very very cool. Although I refused to admit that anything marine could be very very cool to me I signed up to work with the beach babes, and was informed I would come over to the dark side (light only penetrates 60m...) I started reading up about beach ecology and went on a prac and even met the beach guru and I started to see their point, but mostly I just sat and listened to them talk about sandy beach work and watched how excited they got about their work and I saw the passion I used to have, but had somehow lost. I thought back over what I had loved and walked away from over the years and the one thing that kept drawing me back was the ocean. I was reminded in so many ways that the sea is my inheritance and that a seafaring Captain's blood runs in my veins. I starting heading to the beach just to watch the waves and look for my Bullia (the awesome surfing snails I am doing my project on) and found that the joy and passion which I had lost was returning.The biggest challenge I have felt in the last few years is the balancing act of living in two worlds who often don't see eye to eye (although to me they fit together perfectly) those of science, specifically natural science and the christian lifestyle-relationship. I found peace when I was at the beach as I looked around and realised I was in that place - the place which is influenced by two worlds, which often seems to be attacked by the worlds on either side, yet remains, and prospers in so many amazing ways!
And so, on this day when I celebrate the fact that my inheritance is in fact marine, I am ready to shout from the rooftops that I have gone over to the dark side. Iguess you can just call me Darth Varla...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Musing about The Call of The Wild

The Call of The Wild is strong in me. This can be seen in the job I have (looking after reptiles) and the fact that I am rejuvenated best by spending time in nature. This year I have been doing Honours in Zoology part time and have really struggled with the way the two worlds I have been so deeply immersed in (Biological Science and Christianity) don't seem to fit together easily. Many people see huge conflict between the two, mostly due to the whole evolution element (which I am not going into in this and don't have the answers to anyway). I feel like there should not be a conflict, because in my opinion, there is no point in conservation if there is no God. To me, being involved in saving the Earth and all the various types of life that live here, is a calling from God and the natural response to his first charge to humans in Genesis – take care of my creation! Yet, I have struggled because, in my experience with various churches, none seem to care about this at all and very few Christians I have interacted with appear to be concerned that the main cause of the current terrible state of this planet is humans. Don't get me wrong, I don't expect every Christian to be called to conservation work, but the impression I have been getting is that the Christian world generally is completely ignoring the problem, possibly hoping Jesus will return before humans completely destroy the planet. I have seen more Christians starting to think about these problems and gradually start taking action which is a great encouragement, but what I am really looking for is someone who, like me, is working in the Biological Science field and a committed Christian so I can discuss the challenges I experience and grapple through the issues with someone who gets both sides. (If you are such a person or know one, please let me know.) I recently said to God that if he can't bring that person into my life now (I have asked him repeatedly for this) then can he please just show me that he gets the confusion in my mind and that he is actually there for me.

With that background, the last couple of weeks have been quite intense. Work is not a fun place to be these days. My job is more about paperwork and staff management (of staff who are not the easiest to supervise) than about the animals and the current situation in the entire complex is very stressful – union action, financial concerns, staff shortages, pending changes in senior management, concerns about the future. On top of this, my honours work is piling up with the year drawing to a close at the end of next month. Last week Monday I really took strain and very nearly did not cope with the day. In the evening I sat down to work on an essay for varsity and felt like I was going to freak out. I decided to go for a drive to relax and ended up at the Pretorius' house. I had a good chat to Nats about various things, one of which was the fact that I really want a dog. I always want pets, but it is not possible to have any at SarVarCar for various reasons. For years I have wanted a Labrador puppy, but it has never been possible. I strongly believe in pet-therapy (which is not being co-dependent on an animal!) and know that having a puppy to play with would help my stress at work. The next day I started pondering the options of moving, in between the usual chaos that work currently is, and that evening went to chat it over with Tandy and Mornay. By the time I left, I knew that I needed to take that step and the rest of the week went better as I knew that I was planning something that would help me cope. Work continued to be chaotic but I made it through to Sunday evening when I had a chat with my current housemates, Sarah and Carey, about the moving. They were really supportive and the elements I had seen as challenges were considered as minor to them.

Monday morning, I spent some time chatting to my supervisor, Bill, who had been in the field the previous week. I was updating him on the latest crises I had been dealing with and told him how I had not been coping the previous week, but was doing much better now. His response was that I was not coping! We had a good discussion and he helped me see a different perspective of things and how with the current climate at work, it is even more important to focus on my studies and I may need the qualification to move from my current job. He advised me to get booked off for stress. That evening I was going to see a potential garden flat, and in anticipation had made my facebook status "Varla is trusting that today will bring the hoped-for result and if not, that something better is in store". I had been emailing the owner and everything about it sounded perfect for me, so I was really hoping it would be my new home. The only challenge was that I would need to take it immediately, although my current lease only expires at the end of November, but I had played around with my budget and could do it, although it would be a stretch. Before I left I asked God to give me peace if it was the place he intended for me. I arrived and had this uneasy feeling, but went to go look anyway. The garden looked nice, but when we walked into the flat I thought "Where will I put all my stuff?" It would be very cramped which is not ideal when you have a large puppy! I said I would think about it and left, feeling very disappointed. I remembered that Sarah had given me a number earlier that day for a place on Old Seaview Road, but I had dismissed it as too far (and anyway I already thought I had the perfect place). I thought I might as well drive out to the area and see how far it is as I was already on that side of town and a couple of minutes later I was raving about the fact that I had already left town. I recalled a verse I had read a few days previously about leaving the city behind you and decided to phone and see if I could look at the place. I was driving up the driveway going "They live in the bush, they live in the middle of the bush, that's so awesome." I pulled up to the beautiful old house and was shown the huge cottage – bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, lounge, wooden rafters, FIREPLACE – and then taken to see some of the rest of the property – swimming pool, vegetable garden, area outside my cottage which can house a puppy when I am at work, 9 hectares of wild bush to roam (and search for reptiles) to my heart's content!! The peace I had hoped for at the first place had definitely arrived in abundance! I spent some time sitting in the cottage thinking about it and looked up the verse about leaving the city behind (Job 39:7-8) and noticed it also spoke about searching out every green thing. I was looking out the window, when the burglar bars drew my attention – they were heart shaped and I felt God was saying through them that he does love me and he does get everything. This home will be his gift to me and the wilderness will help me to find the peace I so desperately need. Talk about something better...

That evening I had a long chat with Bryony about it all, although I had basically made my decision before I got to her house. I did realise in the chat that the fact that the thought of varsity assignments freaks me out, is a manifestation of the work stress. The next day, my doctor agreed with Bill and booked me off for two weeks to get a handle on things and focus on my studies. I am well aware that work will be no better when I return, but by then I intend to have a large amount of my varsity work completed and be settled in my new home (I already have the keys...). Just driving up the driveway is relaxing! I know that being away from the city and all the negative stuff I feel there will be of a great help and when I am settled (and have paid off the double rent) I know the right dog will come and join me in my cottage in the bush!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Musing about Speciality

I have been rather absent on the blog front for the last six months as I decided to finally  take action on my threat to return to studying and signed up for Honours in Zoology part-time. Combining that with my full-time job and still have a life has been challenging, but the first batch of exams is over and I made it, well, I think I did. The marks aren’t out yet and I am not so sure how well I did in the 8 hour exam we had for one of the subjects, that is 8 hour THEORY exam… I have never written an 8 hour, open book exam on the computer before so not sure about what to expect from the marking! I still have an assignment to complete for the other module and then can tick those two courses off the list. In fact, I am in Jeffery's Bay typing this on my way to St Francis to get some photos for the assignment. (Side note – two majors reasons I am back in the blogging world is my new laptop and a cool program I found to download called Windows Live Writer – I can sync it with my blogs and then do all the writing and editing offline and just log on to publish…)






Cape Cobra Display (1)      Local gecko

The Honours course I am doing involves 5 modules and a research section, which includes a seminar presentation and a project. These are aimed at teaching us how to do research and present our work, but also helpful in guiding us to the speciality that we will focus on. When I started I was sure I knew what speciality I wanted to do, after all my intentions were to future my studies so I could move into the research department at work, but still be involved with the Snake Park – so Herpetology (the study of reptiles and amphibians) here I come was my theory, but now I am not so sure… Herpetology still holds great appeal for me as I have a passion for these animals and although there is a herp-loving community in South Africa, only a select few have the training to do research. With the current amphibian crisis, research is desperately needed, and South African herpetologists do a lot of work in other African countries due to the lack of trained personnel in those countries – which means loads of field trips all over the continent. I also feel that it is a responsibility of those of us who have a passion for conserving these animals to educate those who exploit or fear them. While I am not anti-herpetoculture (keeping reptiles as pets) considering the fact that I have a beautiful little gecko at home, I do think that too many of the people who keep these animals as pets are promoting (often unconsciously) the illegal trade which is the main cause for many species to be endangered, and I would love to play a part in reducing the influence the herpetoculture world has on that. I don’t know how I would go about doing that, but that’s the whole point of science – solving problems! I also feel a responsibility to help people who have a great fear of reptiles to learn to value them (or even love them) for the roles they play in nature. A fear is not something we are born with, but something we learn and therefore, we can unlearn it, if we want to. I want to help people find the desire to overcome this fear by helping them see the good side of reptiles and not just the fact that they can potentially kill you – stepping out of your front door can potentially kill you, but most of us do not fear that action!

One of the modules I have completed this last semester (the one with the marathon exam) was all about Conservation Biology and repeatedly in the articles we were reading, there were references to how this is important to the management of Zoo populations or how Zoo’s play a role in achieving a goal in the management of a species. I do realise that I would notice those references more than others, due to the fact that I work at a Zoo, even though it is a specialist Zoo, but it got me thinking. Could I make a career from doing research into and assisting Zoos to more effectively play the role they need to in the conservation of the world’s species? I know there are exceptions, but the majority of Zoos I have been in contact with want to be active in conservation but there are many limiting factors in this – one of them is that often those who provide funding or permission for conservation programs do not see Zoos as serving a role in conservation, especially from a scientific point of view. I would love to help them to access the funding and permission by doing the research needed to provide scientific proof for those decision makers.

B. Teani       Tropical House Gecko (6)

So I have a choice, but luckily I also have time. Many scientists change their focus a couple of times throughout their post-graduate studies, looking for the speciality which best suits them. I would like to have a good idea before I start Masters in 2011, and in preparation for this I am hoping to do one of each in Honours. I still need to finalise supervisors and get approval from Honours coordinator and stuff, but I would like to do my seminar on “The Role Zoos Play in Conservation”, a presentation which I could use in various platforms in relation to work as well. For my project, my first choice (I think) is a study of the Bradypodian taeniabronchum (Smith’s Dwarf Chameleon). I think I could add in a couple of elements to the study where I practice some of the Conservation Biology techniques, although the application of the data will be limited due to the short time frame of the research. My other option is a project about the invasive geckos species in Port Elizabeth and surrounds and the most appealing part of that project is that I would get to work with Bill as my supervisor – and as a herpetologist that is equivalent to the latest James Bond working with Sean Connery!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Musing about My Favourite Things

Things have been pretty stressful in my life lately which has resulted in me feeling low both in enegry and emotions so I thought it would probably be a good time to make a list of things that bring a smile to my face and heart...
  • Playing with the MGB's, or any of the reptiles actually. The Madagascan Ground Boas are our tamest pythons and there is something incredible about feeling their power ripple through your hands. I really love the chance I get to work with all these fascinating creatures. Watching Luke (Cape Cobra) cruise around his enclosure so relaxed and remembering how hyper he was a few months ago before he went on display - that boy thrives on being in the spotlight! Seeing the little tadpoles develop legs and turn into froglets and now watching those tiny frogs growing on a daily basis. Catching a glimpse of Rocky (monitor lizard) through the office window and seeing him turn to look when you call his name. The adorable smiling face of the Marshies (Marsh Terrapins) poking up through the water or lucerne. There are many things I love about the animals at work...
  • Living at the coast - being able to smell the sea air so often, seeing the bay from my office or when I'm driving around, hanging out at the beach, swimming in the sea. Just knowing that the awesome power of the ocean is right there and I can go share it whenever I want.
  • Coffee!! What other drink has a table named after it!!
  • Hearing the distinctive swoosh of the Oceanrium uniform which means Michael is coming to visit! He works in another department but often comes to get away from things in the Snake Park offices and is a really good friend - even if he does make sexist comments about girls too often!
  • Living in Africa with all the majestic wildlife and scenery and the incredible diversity of species. I am more amazed by this continent each and every day and have no desire to visit any other at present. This year I am hoping to make trips to Uganda and Malawi... if the required funds are sourced!
  • Research - the reason I am continuing my studies this year. I don't like the idea of lectures, but it is the only way I can get into research which I am rediscovering my love for and the only way forward in my career. I can't wait for the day when field work will be a regular occurance, not just the random luxury it is at present!!
  • Hanging out with my friends kids, all the way from tiny little Nathan (who is not so tiny anymore at nearly 6 months) through to the teenage Dan (along with all the attitude that goes with being a teenager!)
  • Completely losing myself in a book (or movie or series) and exsisting in a completely different world for an hour, or a day where the challenges of reality don't matter and I can do anything and be anyone!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Musing about Blogs

I have a second blog... I decided to start one which I can update more often. This one tends to wait until I have mused over something for a while, but my new one can be updated quickly and daily... It's called Boing's Phodiary and can be found at 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Musing about Motto's

In the last month or so, two of my friends have lost a parent. One flew over to England, knowing it was to say goodbye to his mom and she died 30 minutes after he arrived. The other had no chance like that as his father died of a heart attack. In support of him and his family, I went to the funeral. They gave everyone a bookmark on which was written, in his own handwritting, the motto he wanted to live by. He had written it in the last week of his life but his family and friends all knew that he had been living it for years. It was:

Live simply, Love generously,
Care deeply, Speak kindly...
Leave the rest to God

It made me think lots about what motto I am living by. I know years ago I wrote one, but am I living it? Is it what I want to live by? It was:

Without purpose, Life is just existance,
Without passion, Purpose is wasted energy,

BOING is my word, but it is very hard to describe. It comes from the sound that Tigger makes as he bounces around all over the place and it is related to 2 Corinthians 5:13 (If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit.[NLT]) It was meant to encapsulate the fact that we should be using our life, all of our life, to be making a difference for God, even if that difference is not understood by anyone else. We should have a reason for why we do things (a purpose) and we should care deeply about that reason (a passion) if we are going to make the kind of difference God is calling us to. OK, all those we's should be me's, because this is MY life motto and what I feel (or at least felt) God is (or was) calling me to.

What is the purpose that changes my life from an existance? The obvious answer would be to live for God, but I am looking for something more specific. That is true for everyone (or should be), but what does God want as the purpose for MY life? For that answer I find myself going back to the beginning, yes, the start of it all:

God created human beings; 
he created them godlike,
Reflecting God's nature. 
He created male and female.
God blessed them:
"Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!
Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air,
for every living thing that moves on the face of the Earth."
Genesis 1:27-28 (The Message)

The last phrase includes those animals which are not exactly on everyone's favourite list, but which I have a passion (key word) for: Reptiles and Amphibians. Amphibians in particular are in danger of going extinct, vanishing from the world completely, because of what we, as a human race, have done! God created these fascinating creatures and gave them to us to look after, but we haven't been doing so well at that job. Can I make a difference? Can I save some of them? Not single handedly, but with a team of people, a team already in place at the place I work... Could this be the reason why I work here, even though it is not always the easiest thing to do? 

Yes, there is ALOT that I would love to change about the place I work, and even more that just drives me absolutely insane, but if I just focus on the Snake Park (which is divorced from the rest of the complex, but the physicality and the fact that a large portion of the staff never come in due to phobias and such like...) it does paint a better picture. There have been some vast improvements in the public image last few months and with the proposed budget for next year, these improvements should continue. Our collection is changing to fit the plan mcuh quicker than anticipated with us hopefully getting our Southern African Rock Pythons by the end of the year!! I can hardly wait for these beautiful creatures to join our family. For the first time in years, we will be doing weekly snake shows for the public and various other activities during the summer season, which I am very excited about. 

And then there is the frogs, well, froglets! We have a collection of tadpoles, some were caught, while others were collected as eggs. Some of the tadpoles have already morphed into froglets and are just too adorable for words. All of the species we are working with are common ones found in 
and around PE, but this is training for our Endangered Frogs of the Eastern Cape Breeding 
Program. We intend to run captive breeding programs for three of our most endangered species and then re-introduce the offspring to suplement the wild population and help them survive. My colleague is working hard on the field work research which will help me to know exactly what each species requires to breed successfully. We are also looking for funding for this project, which will save a group of animals that God created and man is destroying. I am also using the project for my Honours project in Zoology in the next two years, which is another exciting exercise!

I guess I have a purpose, and I definetely have a passion for that purpose, so I better be off now so I can go BOING!!