I’m writing this blog from the porch of a house in Belize, which serves as the main base for a rehabilitation sanctuary for monkeys, manatees and a whole number of other endangered animals. In fact, it’ll have to be a fairly quick blog, as a new manatee calf and an infant spider monkey should be arriving for some intensive care in an hour or two!
|Me with Duke, a male manatee, after feeding and scrubbing him down.|
Earlier this year, when all my housemates and course mates were sorting out their internships and placements, and I realised I had not yet secured any constructive plans for my own summer, I took to the internet to try and track something down. This led me to the Global Nomadic site (www.globalnomadic.com). Although I had no experience in primate rehabilitation, I applied for the monkey rehabilitation placement and, after filling out the application form online and forgetting about it for a month or so, I got an email telling me that I’d been accepted.
I tackled the application process in a very similar way to a job application (although there weren’t any interviews). There was a section to attach my CV, and the rest of the form essentially went over what would be included in a covering letter, but in much greater detail i.e. what I can offer the organisation, what I hoped to gain from the placement, and why I had chosen to apply in the first place. I made my application through the Global Nomadic website; however it can sometimes be cheaper to contact the placement organisations directly to avoid some of the administration fees.
I’ve only been at the centre for two days so far, but I’ve been made to feel very at home. Belize is an English speaking country, which helps a bit, and the others on placement are largely American and Canadian. I’ve also been introduced to all the animals and the photo is of me with Duke, a male manatee, after feeding and scrubbing him down. So far I’d say the experience has been a bit of a test! I flew into Mexico then spent a day and a half taking buses down to Belize and, as I don’t speak a word of Spanish, this was a bit tricky at times. However, I’m now more confident travelling on my own and I feel much more independent.
Internet permitting, I’ll let you know how the new arrivals do in my next blog. We’ve got a busy few days ahead of us…
Ed (Student Blogger)