Week 1, IPR

Day 1 (Tour)
Very typical first day really! I was given a tour of the sanctuary, and got to shake hands with the lovely little Felix (Capuchin Monkey) and groom Papi (Mona Monkey, who has a strong dislike towards men!).   It came as a shock when it was explained that the majority of monkeys housed at the sanctuary were subject to cruelty. Monkeys previously abused in zoos, kept in bird cages in hotels, locked up and never interacted with. In some cases, this has invoked violent or aggressive behaviour towards humans. Cruelty is just terrible and it was explained that the monkeys would be housed for life at the sanctuary due to their unsuitability of returning to the wild or human captivation.
After the tour came 6:00pm, where dinner was cooked by Paul and Eveyln on my first evening. A beautiful tasting pasta was dished up, thus setting the impression that sanctuary food would be wonderful. I was blissfully unaware on my first day that the following weeks of food would be characterised by boney stew, 90% bone and 10% chicken, endless ‘slices’ of bread and packet noodles.

It gets dark about 5:30pm and temperatures drop to zero at night, hence the day retires early and most volunteers are in bed by 8:00pm – 9:00pm. Night one, I was a ice cube in bed. Slept for probably an hour or so and stuck my head in the covers as a means of trying to preserve a tiny bit more warmth. A beautiful cat (Noir) joined me on my first night so despite the coldness I was happy XD.

Noir

Day 2 & 3 (Workers Stealing & Marvin Passed Away)
I lost pages 2 and 3 out of my journal, thus here I’m writing from memory! First couple of days socially are never great. Being really shy, I do find it difficult to interact in groups, much preferring talking to people individually rather then butting in/adding to conversation at the table. Nevertheless, I generally found the majority of volunteers incredibly friendly. Most people are like-minded when embarking somewhere far flung and for voluntary work. I remember seeing sweet little Chino (baby capuchin monkey) on my 2nd day on the shoulder of Jax (Chino’s ‘mum’, a lovely long term volunteer)  My first week, Chino was incredibly sweet. He never bited and was extremely affectionate.

Chino jumping out of a tree
Chino being Chino 

Day 2, from vague memory, I did observations of a sick mamorset, Kismit. I also remember a injured bat being on site too near the braai area, which Mel took care of and eventually released. Day 3 saw a crazy amount of happenings. Ros had her money stolen out of her room, by one of the workers. A mamorset, Marvin, (nicknamed man boobs for his chubbyness) passed away in his enclosure and I remember having a film night, watching The Hurt Locker together. My forever leaking hot water bottle spilled all over the bed that night. Nights 2 and 3 were warmer! I slept with a hoodie and gloves on, and on Amy’s advice managed to steal a big green blanket no-one was using from the cupboard in the dorm and a hot water bottle from Ros. Day 3 saw the addition of a new volunteer, Charlotte here at IPR for two weeks.

Observations of Kismit

Flea getting annoyed with my observation presence 😛

Day 4 and 5 (Day Off and More Duties)
Day 4 and 5 saw a lazyness in written journal entries. Day 4 I had a day off volunteer duties, thus harnessing the opportunity to have a long shower, do very little during the day and do some reading research on what to do outside of the sanctuary. Also had my first monkey time today with three mamorsets (can’t remember which enclosure! ¬__¬). The evening was my first braai, a lovely dinner consisting of potato salad, coleslaw, the best veggie burgers ever made by Paul and Evelyn and sausages and grilled chicken. Day 5 is described as “very long duty day” in my journal, hah. With duties of Chopping (9:00am – 11:00am), AM Wash (11:00am onwards), Lunch, Top-Ups (1:00pm – 2:30pm), then pellets at 3:00pm. The evening was taken up with sharades and a staple of baked potatoes with various toppings for dinner.

Mona Top-ups
Mamorset Top-ups

Macques Top-Ups
Monkey Time!

Monkey Time: Me and Gemma

Day 6 & 7 (Pretoria Zoo and 1st Morning Feed)
2/2 day off for Tuesday! I went into Pretoria with Paul, Evelyn and Mel. After a brief stint at the eye hospital for Mel, we made our way to a internet cafe for communication back home. Lunch saw a visit to a South African Nando’s, 29.95 Rand (about £2.90), for 1/4 chicken, chips and a bread roll. I ordered extra hot, thinking of the UK equivalent. South African extra hot, is well and truly extra hot! The spicier the better always for me!! But I did find my eyes watering and did struggle a little! IT WAS LOVELY. Afterwards we went to Pretoria Zoo and saw every animal imaginable, popped into Spar afterwards and grabbed some snackage supplies when stew doesn’t quite quench the appetite. We had dinner together at The News Cafe at Wonderboom Retail Park, where I ordered a jalapeno cheeseburger, a slice of cake and a strawberry smoothie for 100 rand. A beautiful and yummy end to a relaxing day off and got back in the evening to meet a new volunteer, Liam! 🙂

News Cafe
Pretoria Zoo

My first morning feed marks day 7 of IPR volunteering :). This consists of crawling out of bed at 5:30am, and the distribution of food bowls to all the monkeys before they rise for the day. All good fun of course, balancing jugs of water & porridge, plus a torch and a marmoset food bowl in just two hands. The only downside is the ton of bowl wash up afterwards (resolved by washing everything the night before XD). Morning feed normally finishes by 7:30am latest, thus leaving a nice hour for a nap before breakfast. Again, all good fun: fumbling back in the dark and crawling up my bunk bed ladder, most probably disturbing the poor soul of either Lauren or Gemma below me.

9:00am supplements with Mel! Generally a favourite duty amongst volunteers, this involves hand feeding monkeys a mixture of Nestum porridge, syrup and crushed vitamins/minerals as a means of ensuring that the monkeys receive all the nutrition that they require.

Supplements – Honey

Porridge for the Mona monkeys

Supplement preparation in the Primate Kitchen

Supplements for the marmosets

Porridge for Capuchins
Bananas for Macques
After supplements was a typical egg sandwiches and salad for lunch (generally lunch was bread with some form of accompaniment such as soup/egg/tuna/beans/sausages/polony and 3:00pm duty wash up and pellets. Day 7 saw the arrival of Bryony and Evelyn and at 9:22pm, a very clear total eclipse. 
Pellets for the marmosets
Pellets for Honey 
Porridge for Felix

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