As part of the preparation for the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) students field guide training, Konica Minolta South Africa (KMSA) enabled a bush immersion at the EcoTraining Karongwe camp for 11 previously disadvantaged individuals from the Good Work Foundation (GWF) bizhub Conservation Academy in Mpumalanga.
None of the students had been on a camping trip and, at Karongwe, under the supervision of experienced South African field guide, Byron Ross, they slept in an unfenced camp among the animals, including the resident leopard. What follows is a report from 25-year-old Sibusiso Mnisi, who was one of the students who was able to finally complete his NQF2 Field Guide qualification while he was on the trip.
‘One of the most important things I learnt during my two weeks in the bush is that curiosity is one of our greatest gifts. When you are curious about any aspect of life and the natural world, it comes alive in ways that you could never have imagined. The television definitely doesn’t do justice to the smells and sounds of the bush. The peace and wonder found in our bushveld is just incredibly beautiful.
My bizhub Conservation Academy students and I were on an EcoTraining ‘Guides and Guardians’ camping trip at Karongwe Private Game Reserve, where we were immersed in nature, learning about birds, trees, the environment and observing the ecosystems we had read so much about as part of our classroom studies.
Over the last 18 months, I have been teaching the FGASA theory content to students who are part of the bizhub Conservation Academy. So, for me this was a dream come true.
At first I thought that, as the facilitator, I was taking my students on a learning trip, but I was just as much a learner as all of my students for these past two weeks. This learning adventure gave us an opportunity to create stories that will live on to inspire our relatives and communities back home.
Thank you to KMSA for this life changing opportunity. Words cannot describe how grateful we are to have experienced the South African bush.’