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Bright and early we packed our bags and hopped in the cars, off on another interprovincial adventure.

One by one the hours passed, the day brightening with the ever-rising sun as we chased it all the way to Hoedspruit.

Our destination?

HERD, an incredible organisation changing the landscape of South African conservation one elephant at a time.

6 and a half hours later, we’d reached our destination.

We hustled and bustled back and forth, quickly unpacking so we could get to the next item on our agenda - planning out our first day of teaching at Jameyana Primary School.

The next four days were a blur of smiling faces, endless games, ice breakers, and of course, lessons.

Not only was every lesson filled with questions, excitement, and too many raised hands to count, but every one of these kids had chosen to spend 4 days of their own school holidays learning about conservation with us.

They greeted us every morning eager as ever, and made every single one of us feel so welcome - not to mention every break between lessons was filled with game after game that they were over the moon to teach us!

We woke up on our final morning in Hoedspruit, exhausted and energised all at once, waiting in anticipation for the kids to arrive for their final morning with us. We heard them before we saw them, brimming with excitement in the early morning chill.

They knew what we had in store for them – meeting some of the elephants that call HERD their home.

After getting the low-down on the do’s and don’ts from Tiger, one of the elephant guardians, we split into groups and met our elephants.

The air was filled with chirps of bewilderment and awe as the kids tried to contain their excitement and not startle the elephants.

A stark reminder of how blessed we are to share the earth with such incredible creatures– and what better way to be reminded than to be standing face to face with these (somewhat) gentle giants.

The most breathtaking morning was followed up with lunch, some more games, and a little crossword that summed up everything we'd taught over the last few days.

A smile spread across our cheeks as hand after hand popped up with answers to the questions, our hearts filling more and more with each one.

What a privilege to be able to share our passion for something as crucial as conservation with so many young minds, and have them rewarding us with that same passion right back.

As we got ready to send them on their way, Clementine had something special to share with us on behalf of him and his class.

What a privilege.

Jameyana, HERD – thank you for having us, and thank you for reminding us why we do what we do.


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