Monday, 3 November 2014

Meet Mphamvu: the latest addition to the orphans!

A few days after my last post, we rescued a little two and a half year old baby elephant, and this feisty little thing has taken up most of my time since! (Hence the lack of days off… and blog posts!)

Meet Mphamvu...

We heard reports of a lone calf wandering for a few days near Ngoma (in the South of Kafue National Park), but attempts had failed to track it down.  However, on the 17th September, The Kafue Research Project team spotted 2.5 year old calf wandering alone in the open about 15km from the Kafue Release Facility.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Bit of British in the Bush: Toad in the Hole

One of my husbands favourite British meals - I used to make it frequently in South Africa. But moving to the bush without a proper kitchen (especially no oven!) I thought I wouldn't be able to make it again. After attempting to cook brownie mix on the fire (by hollowing out oranges and putting the mix inside, closing them up and wrapping them in tin foil) we had an excess of chocolate brownie mix which we just threw in the cast iron black pot, known as the "Dutch Oven" (not in Australia apparently!) Anyhow, it cooked quite nicely.  So when Theo came back from the ration run with some sausages I thought I may as well give it a try. Its always a surprise what he will bring home from  Itezi Tezi, our nearest town with a very small "supermarket!".

Wildlife this week!

This week has been an interesting one for wildlife around camp! Here are some of the animals we have seen...

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Bush Breakfast

This morning was an easy going Sunday morning sleeping late in our tent... well 7am at least (the bush is noisy!) After wandering back bleary eyed over the sand and dry grass from the bathroom, we decided coffee was in order. Not wanting to bother getting out of our PJ's and walk over to the main camp, we decided to give the Kelly Kettle another go (after a bit of a slow start!)

Reality of Rescue

"Don't count your chickens…" was the cautionary message send out to our WhatsApp group when there was excited chatter about the future of a baby elephant that had just been rescued. 

Theo's first rescue with the Elephant Orphanage Project happened while I was visiting family back in the UK, so all I had to keep up with events was the group. With a few fuzzy photos, the story unfolded... A baby (around 18 months old) had been spotted by local villagers,  wandering around without a herd. As she had been spotted a few times they contacted ZAWA (Zambian Wildlife Authority), and so contacted GRI and the EOP.  After Theo and the team got to her, they saw she was severely emaciated and dehydrated, and had likely been without a herd for some time. She was rescued and brought back to the Kafue Release Facility.

Monday, 1 September 2014

About Me

Hi my name is Lisa, this is me on a good day.... 

....normally I am covered in dirt and looking scruffy!

I am an exploring elephant researchernomadic crafter and a tentwife.

I currently live in the middle of the bush in Zambia, in a National Park that is the size of Wales.

I have just turned 30, and although I have no house, car, savings, material possessions of any real value (aside from my crafting stash!) I do have miles of memories.

This blog aims to bring all aspects of my life and interests together in one place (as I am RUBBISH at keeping up with my diary), to keep my family/friends updated (as I am also pretty rubbish at doing that!) and share ideas (and hopefully get some back!)

Exploring Elephant Researcher:

According to my school Careers Advisor, my only opportunity to work with animals was to become 1) A Vet (very allergic to cats, and more upsettingly, dogs) or 2) A Zoo Keeper (As much as there are good Zoos around, even at 16 the thought depressed me). Fast forward a few years, still not really knowing what I wanted to do, I did a degree in Psychology just because I found it interesting. It led me to Animal Behaviour, and a way to work with animals that was outside the career advisor lady’s restrictions! In 2007, I volunteered to help with research on two game reserves in South Africa – had some amazing experiences with elephants (some slightly nerve wracking!) I was planning to stay in South Africa for 3 months, but ended up travelling and studying around South/East Africa for 9 months. All of my experiences in many different game reserves, research stations and parks cemented my passion for research, and elephants, in Africa. In 2008, I went back to the UK to get my Masters in Animal Behaviour from The University of Exeter. Within weeks of finishing my Masters in 2010, I was back in South Africa, carrying out a short welfare project on a group of semi-captive elephants, resulting in the creating of an enrichment program. I fell in love with the elephants (and my now husband) and decided to stay in SA, with the aim to carry out my PhD in elephant behaviour and welfare. I collected data in many game reserves/ parks in SA and gained a lot of experience into the issues facing elephants and the understanding their welfare needs. However, I put my aims for my PhD on hold, because real life got in the way. We now live with another group of amazing elephants in Zambia, this time orphans who are destined for ‘rewilding’, into the beautiful National Park, that I now call home.

…So this blog is partly about understanding elephants, helping them,
putting them back and keeping them where they belong.

Nomadic Crafter:

I have carried ideas books, limited selections of my stash, tickets, crumpled leaflets, and journals through many countries (18) over the years. When I eventually end up back in the UK (usually much later than my family are expecting me) I have to dedicate a lot of luggage space to things I have collected on the way. After settling somewhat in SA (still managed to rack up quite a few places that I called ‘home’) I started the process of moving my extensive crafting (mostly scrapbooking and card making) stash from the UK, took a few years but finally found a home for 90% of my stash. I even had my own craft room for a brief sneeze of time! BUT life has a funny way of turning you upside down just when you think your feet have found their place. So we uprooted and moved back to the UK, back again to SA, then on to Zambia, where my feet are now. My stash however is now spread between all these places, including 3 different family members’ houses in SA. Unfortunately the lowest % is with me now

...So this blog is partly about me trying to stay connected to the crafting world,
crafting in remote locations using limited supplies,
and hopefully sharing ideas (and with a bit of luck getting some back!)


As suggested I have never really grew up, even now I am married (which my oldest friend insists gives me an automatic place on the ‘grown up’ list), but what happens if you marry someone just like you? Well you end up as a tentwife rather than a housewife I guess! As previously mentioned I live in a National Park, which means that along with elephants, our regular neighbours include lions, leopards, hyenas, and jackals among many others. We get woken up by baboons playing at the front of our tent, have to do a ‘scan’ of the surrounding area before going the 20 metres to the open air bathroom. We build a fire to have a hot shower, and get hit by seed pods thrown by cheeky Vervet Monkeys while sitting on the toilet. We depend on solar power and finding phone signal is always a challenge, as well as cooking decent meals when ingredients are hard to come by!

…So this blog is partly about basic living and bush life,
 how we get on as we build our new home here,

which I would welcome any feedback, advice or tips!

This blog is also partly about anything… random thoughts that pop up, ideas, quotes etc.

So... welcome!

Lisa x.