Jumbo update 21 June 21, 2013
Our saga of the “friends of Jumbo” trip continues this week. Getting to meet Ronnie, Wayne and Ashit was a very special experience for me (and the rest of the Jumbo team). One of the huge – and rather unexpected- bonuses of the whole Jumbo experience has been the wonderful friendships that have developed with so very many people who share our interest and views and then to actually meet and spend time with friends that we have met online has been a heart-warming experience and so I do hope that you will indulge me sharing this experience with you. I have divided it into 3 parts (this being part 2) rather than bore you with an entire essay of the trip.
Ashit flew in on Friday afternoon and Louise, Ronnie and Wayne returned from their “lake adventure” on Friday evening giving us a lovely full house for the weekend. I must admit that I was a little anxious as to whether everybody would get on having never actually met any of the people involved at the time of making the arrangements but knowing that we all had a common interest in animals and conservation was a positive start. I need not have worried at all…… as we had some very lively discussions and a great evening. The dogs thought that they were in heaven with so much attention and I began to wonder if Ashit would be going home with Kirby, the little jack Russell in his suitcase.
We were all up bright and early Saturday morning for a tour of the property starting off with a few minutes to say Hi to Moses and look over the barn foundations, it is just so much easier to fully explain the barn construction and overall vision when standing on site and walking “through the stalls etc.” Jim and his team then took us all through the brick making procedure from digging the soil right through to a completed brick and then we split up according to each person’s particular interest. Ronnie and Wayne went to work making bricks with the team whilst Ashit and I got down to the business of going through the accounts and budgets. Ashit is a very successful businessman and I appreciated him casting his eagle eye over the accounts and asking pertinent questions as to the basis of the budget as whilst I was pretty confident of my assumptions on the budget it is always constructive to have independent constructive criticism and advice.
The rest of the Jumbo team were also really pleased to meet our “Jumbo friends” or “special donors” as Matimat calls them and they had requested our presence in the garden at a specified time. After some welcome refreshments I gathered up our visitors and took them to a spot on the lawn under a shady tree where a small group of children made up from the families of our Jumbo team had already gathered – all dressed in their “Sunday best” and very excited to meet the visitors. We heard the beating of drums from around the back of the house and a procession of people started to move into sight. Our innovative team had “borrowed” one of the horses water drums from the stables, “dancers feet bells” from the village dance group and fronds from the palm tree in the garden to make traditional costumes. They proceeded to perform a traditional dance performed at special occasions of celebration followed by a speech from Nyson explain the dance and giving thanks on behalf of the Jumbo team for the help that Ronnie, Wayne and Ashit had given to Jumbo.
We have a great team at Jumbo based on many years of working together – Matimat, the longest serving member has worked with me for over 30 years and seen all of my children grow up as well as helped me rear countless animals. He truly connects with the orphans in particular and shares in the roller coaster of emotions involved – lots of love and affection from little orphans who see you as their mother, huge joy tinged with a bit of sadness at a successful release and incredible grief when you lose an animal.
Jim has been a part of the group for 25 years, has overcome his initial fear of animals and become a great animal advocate, he has become very good at reading animal body language and is great at explaining this to kids at our educational workshops.
Nyson is the newest member of our team having been with us for 5 years. He has an amazing affinity with horses and is great with equine species in particular but all animals love him and respond to his gentle, quiet nature.
Whilst not being directly involved with Jumbo Rose, Binwell, Lloyd, Kwenda and Nkhoma all play their parts, either by taking over duties from Matimat, Jim and Nyson when they are busy with an animal or by helping out when required.
As a team we share in the good times as well as the bad, we buried Moses together and it was great to celebrate together and to watch the children’s faces light up in delight when they received the little gift bags that Ronnie had put together for them.