Monday, July 7, 2008

Musing about PESP

The Port Elizabeth Snake Park aka PESP, last of the three old greats! Transvaal Snake Park is now a rave club and Fitsimons in Durbs is busy transforming into a parking lot (My heart is breaking for the loss of these once amazing places!!) Here at Bayworld the PESP is, quoting from Saturday's Weekend Post "a shadow of what was once the complex's other big animal attraction but now has less than 25 per cent of its former snake population, while the once popular Tropical House is being converted into a special events venue." While there is no denying that the article was very bad publicity for us, I cannot deny that we are down to 25% of what was once here. However, that does not mean that the PESP is a lost cause. In the last two years or so, since Mariƫtte and I took over (from no one) things have improved steadily. As I have just been writing for a report, our focus has been on improving our skills and techniques. The main aspect is that all the animals are healthy!! Yay, yay!! We have even bred some of the species, even though we are not consciously trying to breed any of our animals. Celebration was definitely called for with 3 clutches of Tiger snake (Telescopus semiannulatus) eggs and a baby Armadillo Girdled Lizard (Cordylus cataphractus). Yes, there are financial limitations at times, but never does this mean the animals lack in food, cleanliness, veterinary care or any of the other essential needs. Sometimes it means we can't rebuild an enclosure to the beautiful new design we feel would be perfect, but instead must get the other departments to adapt what we have, in between all the other work they are doing, or some such idea like that. Ultimately, the improvements do happen, just slower than we would hope. Good things do happen as well, out of 5 staff, 4 of us have level 3 first aid with the 5th hopefully going soon. All of the Snake Park staff as well as a couple of other staff in the complex, have recieved the best (and most expensive) training on Snake bite and Venomous Snake Handling available in this country. {If you are looking for training of this kind, Mike Perry of African Reptiles and Venom is the man to contact!!} I have been to visit numerous reptile facilities around the country and staff get the opportunity to attend conferences regularly.
The environment I work in is not perfect (and I am not talking about the fact that I face animals which can kill me on a daily basis...), but then I do live in a fallen world. I don't always see eye to eye with some of the people I work with, even sometimes with those who I must obey, and others also disagree at times, which can does not result in a positive atmosphere around the complex all the time. BUT, it is still my choice whether I will choose to react in a negative manner or look for the silver lining and how I can make the best of the situation. The truth - I often choose the negativity, cos it is easier (at least in the short term!) I know I would find less stress and probably less insane headaches if I chose to be positive, even in the face of mass negativity.
The other question would be: Why does God want me here? Watch for another musing about that...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Musing about Names

So, I have joined the world of the Blog, where anyone in the cyber world can get a glimpse inside my mind - however scary that might turn out to be. To start with I have been thinking lots about the meaning of my names, probably cos its nearly party time and the theme for my birthday is the meaning of my names, as is the title of my Blog. For those who don't know, my full name is Varla Fiona King. I have been known as Fiona for most of my life (and still am in some circles) as my mom and gran both have the same first name as me. My parents put Fiona as my second name cos my initials would have been F.V.K. and sometimes a V looks like a U... Anyway, last year at Easter Camp God told me it was time to start using my first name. I have often hated that name cos I used to get teased about it, and for years I would not even tell anyone what it was. A good friend (and my youth pastor at the time) Craig helped me understand that by hating my name, I was hating myself, and I eventually got to the point where I could tell people what it was, but would not let people use it. God continued his healing work and in an intense prayer session with Craig, Tandy, Rudi and Vince at Easter Camp 2007 it became clear to me that God wanted me to start using that name more, as a sign that he was doing this healing work in my heart. It took a while, but now everyone at church calls me Varla (although some of my older friends and people at work still call me Fiona or Fee).

I love both of my names, actually all three of them!
Varla is Scandinavian and means Warrior Princess and the verse which God gave me for that is Joshua 1:5: No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.
Fiona is Gaelic and means fair and pure and the verse for that is Matthew 5:8: God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.
King is just another reminder that I am of royal blood cos I am God's daughter!!
The colours which remind me of these meanings are purple, white and silver - including my beautiful new silver car, JT (for James Too)!!

So, that is why I chose the title I did...