Thanks for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page.
Don't ask me why but it has always been on my "50 things to do list" to go to The Sahara Desert and when I found this Charity Challenge I just couldn't say no! The next thing to decide was who could I benefit by collecting sponsorship for trekking 80 miles through the desert in the blistering heat while thoroughly enjoying myself?
Having been given the fantastic opportunity in 2009 to visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust I really admire their determination and support in rescuing and caring for young orphaned elephants who have been separated from their groups for various reasons and to give them a life back in the wild at the end of their time with them.
These small groups of orphans grow up together and form their own small herd being cared for by keepers who give each of them 24 hour attention even to the point of sleeping in the stable at night with them. Over time they move from the orphanage in Nairobi to other areas in Kenya where they are taken into the bush every day to learn the skills their elders would have taught them to rehabilitate them back into the wild again.
It seems 7 is the magic number as that is the age that the elephants usually decide they will try one night out in the wild instead of following the others back to the compound and from there they gradually start to integrate between wild herds and their own small group. While I was visiting, an elephant came back to the camp who had been living for years with wild elephants and was instantly recognised by the keeper as "Sonny". He trundled in to meet the humans and say hello to his old keeper who had cared for him all those years and while there was using his trunk to fumble around my shoes and it wasn't until I stood up I realised he had been undoing my shoe laces! A clever trick he obviously learned while at boot camp!
For their size they are such gentle creatures and intelligent, articulate and emotional - once you have had an elephant encounter it will stay with you forever and I commend the people who are trying to make such a huge difference in their existence here and now.
If you wish to find out more about this amazing charity then do watch their films on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsjczsGXEY8.
The first film covers the reality of Kenya and does evoke tears but further videos show the heartwarming results of all the hard work they put in every single day - I cannot encourage you enough to watch! And for those of you who want more there is a BBC two part DVD series called Elephant Diaries taking you back to the orphanage in 2007.
Thank you for reading and I'm hoping you are inspired to sponsor me because every step I take and every dune I conquer in the Sahara will be nothing compared to what it takes a baby orphaned elephant to survive. Please be part of it too and a HUGE thanks.
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity.